(we must ensure that) life means life


Bon soir,

the above phrase is regularly used in england regarding emprisonment ie. that a life prison sentence means a lifetime in prison

can anyone offer a french equivalent as I would imagine this phrase wouldnt make any sense if literally translated

  • Denis the fatalist

    Senior Member
    we say "condamné à perpétuité avec une période de sûreté de x ... ans"
    It means nobody can reduce the sentence for any reason during that time. Then, provided it's long enough as regard the age of the person...

    Moon Palace

    Senior Member
    If you want to differentiate between the sentence and the meaning implied, you could say:
    la perpétuité signifie la condamnation à la prison à vie.
    But I agree that usually it never comes down to a lifetime in jail but a given period of time called 'une peine de sûreté incompressible' which is not to be reduced but is a maximum.
    Hope it helps.


    British English
    You're right, Moon Palace, there is no sense of obligation in the phrase 'life means life'; that comes from the people who say 'We must ensure that life means life', which is why I put it that way.

    Moon Palace

    Senior Member
    Nous devons nous assurer qu'un condamné à perpétuité passe sa vie en prison.
    Sorry, Suehill, this had escaped me :eek:, it is in the title though...
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