News Editorial

Monday 5 December 2016

It's time to debate if a life sentence should mean life

Published 21/04/2015 | 02:30

The life sentence imposed on Graham Dwyer after his conviction for a murder that transfixed and horrified the Irish public has once again raised the question of "When does life mean life?"

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The advocacy group Advic has highlighted the fact that "the term life-sentence is misleading". This is because although a life sentence is automatic following a murder conviction, essentially the term served is at the discretion of the Justice Minister of the day, following advice from the parole board.

Advic highlights the fact that Dwyer will be technically eligible for parole in seven years' time, although the most recent data on those released after serving a 'life' sentence was that they served an average of 20 years (compared with 17 years served by those who were released in 2013).

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