The decision by the Appeal Court that British Judges can impose a whole life tariff without review on sentences for the most heinous of crimes, might, at first glance seem entirely appropriate and just. Putting a person in prison and throwing away the key might seem entirely justifiable but is it, from a Christian viewpoint? Surely there should be the hope of repentance; surely there should be the hope of amendment of life, surely there should be the possibility of forgiveness. By allowing a whole life sentence to be reviewed so that these matters can be considered doesn’t mean that the incarcerated should be freed but that consideration be given to that possibility.
A very wise priest said to me years ago that you must never take away all hope from a prisoner. To review a sentence provides the opportunity for experienced people to exam if the incarcerated has made significant progress; it provides the prisoner with the incentive to do so. Many given whole life, and entirely justified, sentences might never, ever leave prison but shouldn’t the door be open to recognise rehabilitation should it occur?