is serving 20 years to life

Discussion in 'English Only' started by NickJunior, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. NickJunior Senior Member

    What exactly does the phrase "is serving 20 years to life" mean? Does it mean that the guilty person has to first serve a 20 years sentence term, and then stay in jail forever more until he/she dies? Please enlighten me.

  2. Twoflower

    Twoflower Member

    UK, English
    As I understand it, 20 years to life means that the person has been given a life sentence, and they will not be considered for parole until they have served at least 20 years.
  3. nichec

    nichec Senior Member

    He will serve no less than 20 years, possibly a life sentence.
  4. NickJunior Senior Member

    Let me understand it correctly. So it means that the person is sentenced to stay in jail for life, right? However, the guilty is given a condition that if he has served at least 20 years in jail, then he is eligible for a "conditional release" from jail. However, he remains sentenced to be in jail still, right?
  5. Teafrog

    Teafrog Senior Member

    UK English (& rusty French…)
    Correct. His minimum sentence is 20 years (no matter how well he behaves whilst in prison, or if the law change whilst he is in prison). Then, if (and only IF) he's been a good boy, has shown genuine remorse, proved that he has learnt his lesson and will not do it again, etc., he could be eligible for parole and released early from prison (after a minimum of 20 years). If he does something illegal, like… kill someone else, after he's been released, then he goes straight back to jail to serve the rest of his sentence (because he had been released on parole).
    If he shows no remorse, then he stays in until he's a very old man.
    Phew, I hope this makes sense :)
  6. dhchong Senior Member

    Hi, guys.
    This is from the title of a book.
    As the book is not available for me, I've not read it yet.

    I understand that 9 to 5 means working hours in office. But what does 10 to life mean?

    9 To 5 Beats Ten To Life: How to Re-Enter Society (2nd Edtion)
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
  8. dhchong Senior Member

    Thank you very much, Loob.
  9. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Dhchong, I've merged your question with one of the earlier threads. (Thanks, Loob!)

    English Only moderator

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