Lifer is a term for a person who is consigned to a life sentence in prison. A life sentence means that a person will be incarcerated for the rest of their life, and will not be given the opportunity to be released from prison. The term “lifer” is used as an expression of a person’s grim or dismal fate, or to refer to someone who has received such a sentence.

History of the Term

The term “lifer” was first used in the early 20th century to refer to criminals undergoing life imprisonment. The phrase appears in writings dating back to 1914, when it was used to refer to any prisoner sentenced to serve their entire life in prison, regardless of their crimes or length of sentence.

Characteristics of a Lifer

A lifer is defined as someone who has been sentenced to life imprisonment, meaning they will remain incarcerated for the duration of their life. As a result, a lifer is typically someone who has committed a serious crime and faces a long prison sentence as a result.

Other characteristics of a lifer include:

    • Lengthy Sentence: A lifer has been given a lengthy sentence and will remain incarcerated for a period of many years, if not their entire life.
    • Rehabilitation: As a result of their sentence, a lifer typically does not have the opportunity to be released or rehabilitated before their death.
    • Victim Impact: Due to the nature of their crimes, lifers often face strong public disapproval and a great impact on victims.

Implications of a Life Sentence

Life sentences have far reaching implications, both in terms of the person receiving the sentence, as well as the communities in which they are located.

On the one hand, a life sentence can offer the offender a chance to reflect on and possibly atone for their criminal activities. On the other hand, it can deny them the opportunity for rehabilitation and a chance at a new life.

Additionally, life sentences can also have a significant impact on the communities in which offenders live, as they will not be able to return to their communities and re-integrate into society.

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