whole-life tariffAn order of life imprisonment in the UK handed to a person who has committed a particularly heinous crimes, in which the prisoner is sentenced to remain in jail, without possibility of release, until his or her death.
While trial judges can recommend the order, it is up to the Home Secretary to impose it. Since it was introduced in 1983, 50 people have had whole-life tariffs; four were released on compassionate grounds, due to advanced age or infirmity—e.g., terminal cancer.
Whole life tariff-eligible crimes
• Murder of two or more persons, where each involves any of the following:
— Substantial premeditation or planning,
— Abduction of the victim, or
— Sexual or sadistic conduct;
• Child murder if involving abduction, sexual or sadistic motivation;
• Murder to advance a political, religious or ideological agenda;
• A second murder by an offender previously convicted of murder;
• Other offence that the court considers serious—e.g., treason, or combinations of the above.