• Murderers and Life Imprisonment by Eric Cullen and Tim Newell - book cover

Murderers and Life Imprisonment

Containment, Treatment, Safety and Risk

by Eric Cullen and Tim Newell, Foreword by Stephen Shaw


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Who are the murderers and lifers? What should we do with them while they are in custody? What are the faults with the present lifer arrangements? An expert analysis by two people who have spent their professional lives dealing with such offenders. There are now over 4,000 lifers in British prisons. This is more than in the whole of the rest of Western Europe. On current trends (and given the recently widened scope of mandatory life sentences) this figure could double within a decade.

The authors write from personal knowledge of lifers and many years experience working closely with them within the prison system-making Murderers and Life Imprisonment not just a highly authoritative account but also one containing vivid, often compelling illustrations. There is a certain futility in some of the present arrangements and the authors do not shrink from making a number of suggestions for improvements under the headings containment, treatment, public safety and risk. The range of this major work is wide: from an examination of ‘Who Are the Lifers?’ (including a UK/USA comparison), lifer profiles, ‘The Structure of a Life Sentence’ and ‘The Psychology of the Murderer’, the book moves on to deal with ‘Containment and Treatment’, ‘Discretionary Lifer Panels’ and a range of ethical, Human Rights and associated issues. There are special contributions by David Wilson on ‘Delusions of Innocence’ and Roland Woodward on ‘Lifer Risk Assessment’ (including what it is, how it is done and a critical examination of clinical and other methods). The work is further enhanced by case studies (anonymised) based on actual case histories.


‘An extremely timely addition to Waterside’s remarkable series of criminal justice texts’: Stephen Shaw (from the Foreword)


Eric Cullen is a Chartered Forensic Psychologist with 25 years experience working with murderers and other lifers and is currently a consultant to the privately managed HMP Marchington (often referred to as the ‘New Grendon’). Tim Newell has been a Prison Governor for 32 years and is currently Governor of HMP Grendon, a unique therapeutic community prison working with long-term and life sentence prisoners. He is the editor of the Prison Service Journal. With a Foreword by Stephen Shaw, formerly Director of the Prison Reform Trust and now Prisons Ombudsman.

Additional information

Weight460 g
Dimensions234 × 156 × 17 mm

Foreword author

Stephen Shaw


Waterside Press




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Place of origin

United Kingdom

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