Should Convicted Murderers Spend Rest of their Lives in Jail

Life Imprisonment Against Release

Murder is the worst crime a person can commit. This is due to the fact that it devalues life. The punishment of murder has received different arguments. According to some scholars murderers should receive a life imprisonment while others argue that they should be released.

The proponents assert that once the murderer has been jailed he is incapacitated (Sheleff, 1987). This means, the person will not have an opportunity to harm others unless he runs away from prison and it is unlikely. Further, they argue that when the murderer is convicted for life imprisonment, the rates of crime will be reduced as this person has no opportunity of committing other crimes or murder crime. 

Get a price quote
Title of your paper
Type of assignment
Writing level
First order only: 00.00

Life imprisonment, as argued by the proponents deters future crimes from being committed (Levinson, 2002). They claim that when this is the minimum punishment to the crime, then people will fear committing it as they will not have an opportunity to reduce the sentence. Statistics have shown that capital punishment deters crime and they believe that life imprisonment will reduce rates of murder crime. Besides, life imprisonment will lead to a better society. Criminals are bad elements in the society. Those in support of the claim argue that if these bad elements are left free they will degrade the society in their surroundings (Cullen & Newell, 1999). By doing away with them the society is left free of criminals and thus a better place to live. Without criminals in the society, the state of the economy is also better. Those in opposition argue that this people need medical attention but getting trained psychologists to work in our prisons is expensive and almost impossible. Having the criminals jailed all their life means the society is free and this leads to huge economic growth (Levinson, 2002).

On the other hand, the opponents argue that those who are convicted of murder should not spend their lives confined rather should be released. They argue that it is tremendously inhumane as well as insane act of dealing with an individual’s life (Feinberg & Feinberg, 2010). They link this with the saying that “every criminal is a product of the society” and that those convicted should be given an opportunity to survive, in spite of the lost life. It is against human rights to give a person death sentence and the opponents argue that this is not different from confining a person forever.

Another argument put forth by the opponents against confining individuals for the rest of their lives is that the main purpose of punishment is to make them change by learning a lesson. However, this cannot be achieved if one is sentenced to life imprisonment instead, there will be further increase in hatred and resentment experienced by the convicted murderers.

According to studies, the United States of America spend over $25,000 every year per inmate. This means that if the convicted murderers are made to spend their whole lives in jail, the figures will be more. This can have devastating effects especially for the less developed economies.


In conclusion, the proponent’s argument of incapacitation, deterring future crimes, a better society and a good state of the economy when convicted murderers are imprisoned for the rest of their lives is greatly opposed by the opponents. The latter argue that indefinite imprisonment does not prevent individuals from committing murder. Besides, making them to spend their lives in jail violates their human rights and amplifies their feelings of hatred and frustrations, rather than acting as a deterrent. In my opinion, those convicted of murder should serve a definite jail term and then be given a chance to show that they have changed.

Order now