BBC Radio 4's Law in Action was broadcast on Tuesday, 13 June, 2006 at 1600 BST.
The Home Secretary, John Reid, has attacked the sentencing of a man who abducted and sexually assaulted a girl of three. Craig Sweeney was given a life sentence, but could be eligible for parole after just over 5 years in prison, once all of the various deductions for guilty pleas and time already spent in custody had been figured out.
So what does a life sentence actually mean? And are our judges too lenient? Criminal barrister Philip Katz QC gives his views.