Indeterminate sentences breach human rights

Posted: 9th July 2013

PrisonThe European Court of Human Rights has ruled that a sentence which does not provide any possibility of release is a breach of the human rights of the person convicted.

An appeal brought by three convicted murderers who were given life sentences under a ‘whole-life’ tariff – meaning that they can only be released should the Justice Secretary agree to it on compassionate grounds – was accepted by the Court on the ground that the sentence interfered with their right under the European Convention on Human Rights to protection from ‘inhuman or degrading treatment’.

In practice, the ruling means that the three men, and more than 40 others, will have to have reviews of their incarceration to confirm that their continued imprisonment is compliant.