FRANCE: Life imprisonment sentences for children abolished

France has become the latest country to ban life imprisonment for children thanks to an amendment to the 1945 ordinance on child offenders.

The law previously allowed those aged 16 or older to be sentenced as adults for certain crimes, meaning that under-18s found guilty of repeatedly committing the same offence, or of carrying out a crime with aggravating factors could be sentenced to life in prison.

Despite the existence of the penalty in law it has very rarely been implemented, with only two known cases in the last 25 years. One of these sentences was subsequently overturned, leaving only one person currently serving a life sentence in France for a crime committed while under the age of 18.

The change moves France off the list of States allowing inhuman sentencing of children, leaving the United Kingdom as the only country in the European Union to still allow such penalties.


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