The challenges and needs of people serving long life sentences from a young age
Why read this evidence review?
In recent decades, a clear legislative trend has emerged towards increasingly long minimum tariffs for people serving life imprisonment in England and Wales. However, little is known about the short- and long-term effects of long periods of confinement in prison.
This evidence review provides an in-depth look at the specific challenges and needs of the significant number of people already serving long life sentences from a young age in England and Wales. The authors of this report are the joint architects of a major research study into the experiences of people serving these sentences in England and Wales, a study described by one reviewer as “the deepest empirical look at adaptation and survival in long-term imprisonment for over forty years.”
This review covers a wide range of issues including:
- The sentencing context and the growing numbers of people serving long life sentences
- The impact of life imprisonment for murder on people sentenced at a young age
- The broad ‘stages’ experienced during such long life sentences
- The challenges of ‘uncertainty’, in terms of the lack of a fixed release date
- The particular needs and challenges for women serving life sentences
- Suggestions for how to respond to the specific needs of long-term life sentenced prisoners.
An online evidence base for the voluntary sector working in the criminal justice system
This article forms part of a series from Clinks, created to develop a far-reaching and accessible evidence base covering the most common types of activity undertaken within the criminal justice system. There are two main aims of this online series:
- To increase the extent to which the voluntary sector bases its services on the available evidence base
- To encourage commissioners to award contracts to organisations delivering an evidence-based approach.
Each article has been written by a leading academic with particular expertise on the topic in question. The topics are selected by Clinks’ members as areas of priority interest. Clinks intends to build a comprehensive directory of the best evidence available across a wide range of criminal justice topics within the next three years (2020-2023). The online evidence base is co-ordinated by Russell Webster on behalf of Clinks.