What Is a Life Sentence Plus?


The law requires individuals be judged and sentenced for crimes they commit. While an individual may be on trial for more than one crime, each charge is ruled on separately receives its own punishment. For example, a person found guilty of manslaughter and possession could receive a lifetime prison sentence for the murder plus two years for the possession.

Why a 'Lifetime Plus...' Sentence?

  • Even after an individual receives a lifetime sentence, justice must be served for any other crimes committed. In many instances, crimes have a minimum punishment that must be administered, even if the individual will never be able to serve the time because of previous sentences. For example, just because someone is serving a lifetime sentence for murder doesn't mean he gets a free pass and no sentencing for the rape he committed.

Life Sentence Stats

  • In the United States today, nearly 150,000 inmates are serving life sentences. Most of them are also serving time for other crimes. The frequency of life sentences has increased in the past several decades, causing many to question the stringency of the law.

Crimes Designated 'Lifetime Plus...'

  • Crimes that can receive a lifetime sentence include murder, extreme violence, human trafficking or treason. In many instances, individuals who have committed these types of crime have also violated the law in other ways.

Appeal and Parole

  • When individuals receive a lifetime sentence plus additional years for their other crimes, it makes it more difficult for them to get out on an appeal or parole. For example, if a person receives a lifetime sentence plus 30 years for the crimes she committed, several years later she can obtain an appeal that reduces the lifetime sentence to 40 years. This means that she will still spend 70 years in prison, which is effectively still a lifetime sentence.


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