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Conference paper on the administration of life and long-terms sentences in a European context

Ger Coffey event

On Thursday 20th October Dr Ger Coffey (Course Director LLM/MA in Human Rights in Criminal Justice and member of the Centre for Crime, Justice & Victim Studies in the School of Law) presented his research entitled ‘An Assessment of the Structures for Administering Life and Long-Term Sentences in a European Context’ at the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law Conference.


This presentation deconstructed the administration of life imprisonment as interpreted across ECHR Contracting States. Council of Europe Statistics were presented in context with an assessment of broader figures on life and long-term sentences. The influence of European penal policy (underpinned by reform and rehabilitation) was examined in the context of influencing national sentencing systems. The multitude of different parole decision-making bodies across Contracting Sates greatly informed the analysis. The overall theme and conclusions of the of the paper suggests that an understanding of different methods of administering life sentences across Council of Europe states is important for policymakers and judicial authorities as there are significant distinctions resulting in different interpretations in national legal systems.


The conference provided a unique opportunity to meet, hear and learn from distinguished experts, legal professionals, and academics from around the world. The exchange of ideas and constructively critical feedback on the hypothesis presented greatly informed the paper that will published in due course.