We have always heard about the term "life sentence," but is this term actually used? Does life imprisonment exist? What does it entail? When is it applied?
Life Imprisonment (The Shawshank Redemption) is a 1994 film in the USA. Based on the novel by Stephen King, the movie starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman wasn't an immediate success, in fact, it seemed like it would be forgotten, but gradually it became one of the most important films in the history of cinema.
Life imprisonment is the maximum penalty that can be obtained. However, this term has been abolished and replaced by new ones. Peru is the only country that still uses the term. "Cadena Perpetua" literally means permanent chaining, as in the past, many prisoners were chained to a wall and remained chained for the duration of their sentence, hence the term "Cadena Perpetua." Nowadays, the term "prison" is used instead of "cadena."
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And what about Spain? Does life imprisonment exist?
The term doesn't exist in Spain as such. Starting from the penal code of 1822, the term began to be used after the death penalty was abolished. However, in the penal code of 1928, life imprisonment was definitively abolished. Years later, specifically in 2015, it was reintroduced in the penal code as "Prisión Permanente Revisable" (Reviewable Permanent Imprisonment).
As of last year, there were 34 people sentenced to "Prisión Permanente Revisable" in Spain, but only 7 have been reviewed.
Before the reintroduction of this penalty, the maximum number of years one could spend in prison continuously was 40 years.
The person who has spent the longest continuous time in prison in Spain is Miguel Montes Neiro, who spent a total of 36 years.
What would you have to do today to receive a sentence of "Prisión Permanente Revisable"?
This penalty is only obtained by committing aggravated murder, crimes against minors, crimes against vulnerable individuals, multiple murders, terrorism... It can be reviewed if the prisoner requests it after serving at least 25 or 35 years, depending on the crime.
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