When it comes to prison sentencing, life does not mean life – and has not for a very long time. Still, there are some crimes that are so wicked, so heinous, that those responsible deserve to be deprived of their liberty for the rest of their natural lives. That is a proposition on which the overwhelming majority of the British people, and of their elected representatives, agree. Sadly, the European Court of Human Rights begs to differ, claiming that the status of all prisoners must be reviewed 25 years into their term: the absence of any hope of release renders such punishments “inhuman and degrading”, it claims.

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