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Life Sentences

Parole Decisions for Lifers
Parole Decision Guidelines are not used for life-sentenced inmates. An offender serving a life sentence, for which parole is authorized by law, is automatically considered for parole on the date permitted by applicable constitutional and statutory law.

Most parole-eligible offenders serving a life sentence for a serious violent felony (murder, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, armed robbery, or kidnapping) will initially be considered for parole after serving 14 years. Those offenders who committed such crimes on or after July 1, 2006, will not be considered for parole until they have served 30 years. Most life-sentenced offenders convicted of serious violent felonies before 1995 were eligible for parole after seven years and have already received their initial parole consideration. Approximately 3,000 of these life-sentenced offenders are still in the prison system. More than 1,000 of these offenders have already served 20 or more years on their life sentence. Exceptions to the above are as follows:

An offender can be sentenced to life without parole for murder if the crime involved aggravating circumstances sufficient to warrant a sentence of death. An offender can be sentenced to life without parole for a second conviction of a serious violent felony.

An offender convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment before July 1, 2006, and who has previously been imprisoned under a life sentence, must serve 25 years before becoming eligible for parole consideration.

An offender who is serving consecutive life sentences before July 1, 2006, one of which is for murder, for offenses occurring in the same series of acts, must serve consecutive ten-year periods for each such sentence, up to a maximum of 30 years, before becoming eligible for parole consideration. These offenders who committed their crimes on or after July 1, 2006, must serve 60 years. Offenders serving life sentences for drug offenses are eligible for parole consideration after seven years.
 
It is the policy of the Board that all life-sentenced offenders denied parole may be set for reconsideration up to a maximum of eight years from the date of last denial when, in the Board's determination, it is not reasonable to expect that parole would be granted during the intervening years. Offenders set-off under this policy may receive expedited parole reviews in the event of a change in their circumstance or where the Board receives new information that would warrant a review prior to the established reconsideration date.