Can persons sentenced to life imprisonment be eligible for parole?

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In Pennsylvania, persons convicted of premeditated murder must be sentenced to life imprisonment or death. Once sentenced to life imprisonment, they are not eligible for parole, but must serve the entire life sentence unless they secure commutation directly from the Governor.

While sentences short of life imprisonment are subject to parole, prisoners are not eligible for parole until they have fully served their minimum time. All sentences in Pennsylvania are expressed as minimums and maximums, and the minimum sentence cannot be more than one-half the maximum. Thus, commonly reported sentences in Pennsylvania are 5 to 10 years, or 6 to 12 months. Sentencing procedures and laws in some states and for some federal crimes permit of quick or early parole. But in Pennsylvania, the parole rights of convicted criminals are limited, and life means life.