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Top 20 Longest Prison Sentences Worldwide

The UK's judicial system houses inmates, who are found guilty or remanded in custody, with approximately one-fifth of prisoners not convicted or sentenced.

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We’ll discuss the 20 Longest Prison Sentences ever imposed worldwide in this article. Prisons house individuals who have had their freedom revoked after being found guilty of a crime or who have been remanded (kept) in custody by the judicial system. If found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor, the offender may receive a jail sentence.

Housing accused people awaiting trial remains a critical function of modern jails; in many countries, this group comprises the majority of inmates. In the UK, for example, about one-fifth of prisoners are either not convicted or have not been sentenced; in India, on the other hand, almost two thirds of prisoners are pretrial inmates.

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World’s Longest Prison Sentence

There are a number of good reasons to employ jail. One tactic is to deter criminal activity before it starts (universal deterrence) and to lessen the chance that convicted people will commit crimes once they are released from prison (individual deterrence). A secondary tactic focuses on penalizing or retaliating against individuals who have committed significant transgressions. A third tactic aids prisoners in their attempts to transform personally. Finally, there are instances in which protecting the public from criminals—particularly those who commit crimes frequently—becomes essential. In some circumstances, any or all of these arguments might be valid.

The US Sentencing Commission decided to look at the effect of imprisonment on recidivism after being granted access to enormous amounts of data pertaining to thousands of federal criminal defendants over a number of years. The panel determined to investigate 32,135 federal criminal defendants released in 2010. The study divided the offenders into five categories according to how long their sentences were: 24–36 months, 36–48 months, 48–60 months, 60–120 months, and more than 120 months.

The panel next investigated whether of the released prisoners had committed new offenses during the course of an eight-year follow-up period. The results were startling. When compared to a similar group of prisoners serving shorter terms, the chance of recidivism was 18% lower for offenders serving sentences longer than 60 months (five years). For criminals serving sentences longer than 120 months, or ten years, the recidivism rate was 29% lower. With a statistically significant p-value of less than 0.001, these data demonstrated great reliability. When it came to recidivism, there was no statistically significant difference among defendants spending less than 60 months.

Strict jail sentences are essential for preventing criminals from committing new offenses. When professionals talk about how the certainty, immediacy, and severity of penalties form the basis of deterrence. Twenty of the world’s longest prison terms had a considerably higher chance of working, but even the commission’s analysis found that relatively low sentences—less than 60 months—do little to deter convicted felons from committing crimes in the future.

Why would someone want to spend a thousand years or more in prison?

Why imprison someone for hundreds or even thousands of years when a simple sentence of “life without parole” will achieve the same result? People found guilty of multiple offenses committed by the same person may serve disproportionately long prison sentences in the United States, where sentencing rules differ. Millennia-spanning sentences are not a uniquely American occurrence.

In 1972, a man from the Spanish island of Majorca appears to have received the 20 longest prison term ever requested worldwide. Gabriel March Granados worked as a postman in Palma, the capital of the island, and then decided he wasn’t interested in delivering mail.

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According to the sparse records of the trial, Granados was just 22 years old, thus it’s amazing that he was unable to deliver 42,768 letters. Rather, he made the decision to open the mail and get anything of worth. The prosecution believes he should be jailed for 384,912 years, or nine years for each letter not delivered. These multigenerational declarations are designed to identify those who have been affected accurately and to ensure the punishment is appropriate for the many offenses committed.

Top 20 Longest Prison Sentences Worldwide

20- Bobby Joe Long

Length: 99 years, the death penalty, and 28 life sentences

Sentenced in 1985

Place: USA

Crime Types: Sexual Assault and Murder

Obert Joseph Long terrorized the whole Tampa Bay area of Florida during his eight-year, serial killing rampage in 1984. Lisa McVey was one of the at least ten women he kidnapped, assaulted, and killed; he eventually set her free. McVey played a crucial role in providing the data required to eventually find Long and bring charges against him. Long was executed in May 2019 along with two of his victims, Lisa McVey Noland among them, who was only 17 years old when she was abducted and abused. This sentence was regarded as one of the 20 longest jail terms ever imposed worldwide.

19- Ariel Castro

Length: 1,000 years plus a life sentence

Sentenced in 2013

Place: USA

Kind of crime: abduction and sexual assault

Castro was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. He entered into a plea deal, acknowledging his guilt to 937 felonies, including rape, kidnapping, and aggravated murder. In addition to life in prison, he was sentenced to 1,000 years in prison without the prospect of release. One month into his life sentence, Castro, 53, was found hanging from a bedsheet and was pronounced dead. This sentence was listed among the top 20 longest prison terms ever imposed globally. Officially judged a suicide, additional evidence suggests that his death may have been the result of an error in auto-erotic asphyxiation.

18- Miguel Krassnof

Duration: 1,007 years

Sentenced in 2023

Place: Republic of Chile

Crime type: kidnapping, torture

Krasnoff was one of the army officials in charge of establishing and maintaining Villa Grimaldi, the detention camp used by the Pinochet regime to torture citizens of Chile. Luz Arce is frequently referenced in the testimonies of those who were tortured and imprisoned in Villa Grimaldi prior to his collaboration with the government. In 2006, Krassnoff was sentenced to 144 years in prison after being found guilty on over 20 counts of crimes against humanity. In 2016, he was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for the 1974 kidnapping of José Ramírez Rosales. Additionally, he appears on our list of the 20 longest prison terms ever imposed worldwide.

17- Martin Bryant

Length: 35 life sentences and 1,035 years

Sentenced in 1996

Place: Australia

Crime Type: Mass Murder

Among the 20 criminals with the longest prison terms ever handed down worldwide is Martin Bryant, who carried out one of the deadliest shooting sprees in history, which resulted in 35 fatalities and 23 injuries. The Port Arthur Massacre is the name given to the majority of the murders that occurred during his shooting spree. Bryant was sentenced to an excessively long prison term without the possibility of being released for his crimes.

16- Billy Joe Godfrey

Length: 35 life sentences or 1,050 years

Sentenced Year: 2015.

Place: USA

Kind of Crime: Abuse of Children

Billy Joe Godfrey horribly sexually assaulted two children, ages eight and thirteen, between 1995 and 1999. Godfrey’s guilty plea was one of the worst things that prosecutor Brendon Fox had ever seen. Godfrey asked to be let to die outside of prison, but his plea was denied. As Judge Ronald White delivered the decision, Godfrey declared he would never again breathe free air. It is regarded as one of the 20 longest prison terms ever imposed worldwide.

15- Abdulkadir Masharipov

Length: 1,368 years plus 40 life sentences

Sentenced in 2020


Crime type: gunshot in a nightclub

Abdulkadir Masharipov, an Uzbek native, was sentenced to 1,368 years in jail and 40 life terms for carrying out the 2017 nightclub shooting in Istanbul. This prison sentence ranks among the 20 longest in the world. In September 2020, a Turkish court found Masharipov guilty of 39 killings and 79 injuries. The court also sentenced Masharipov to an additional 1,368 years in prison.

In his most recent evidence, he requested to be cleared, alleging that he had been the victim of “torture and pressure” when he made his initial accusations. He argued that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him. It is anticipated that he would appeal the ruling.

14- Rene Lopez

Length: 1,503 years

Sentenced Year: 2017.

Place: USA

Kind of Crime: Abuse of Children

Rene Lopez, who was sentenced to the longest jail term in Fresno Superior Court history for four years of sexually abusing his daughter, is one of the 20 people whose sentences are the longest in history. Instead of protecting her after one of his friends mistreated her initially, Lopez made the trauma worse. Judge Edward Sarkisian Jr. referred to him as a “serious danger to society” because he too denied feeling regret for his acts and placed the responsibility on her.

13- Berry walker

Length: 1,710 years without parole + 39 life terms

Sentenced in 2022

Place: USA

Sexual assault is the type of crime that it is.

Former medical professional who worked as a serial rapist in Arkansas. admitted admission to the rape of at least thirty-one young children between 1997 and 2022 and accepted the maximum sentence. It is also listed among the top 20 longest prison terms ever handed down worldwide.

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12- Michael J. Delvin

Length: 2,020 years plus 74 life sentences

Sentenced in 2007

Place: USA

Child abuse is the type of crime.

He was found guilty on many counts of kidnapping children between 2002 and 2007, attempting forced sodomy, kidnapping children for sex, transferring children across state lines for sex, utilizing force to conduct crimes, and attempting murder. On October 8, Devlin pled guilty to the charges brought against him by Franklin County. For kidnapping a child, he received one of the 20 longest jail terms ever handed out, together with a shorter sentence for using a firearm in criminal conduct during that court appearance.

11- Larry D. Kiel

Duration: 2,501 years

Year of sentencing: 1992

Place: USA

Crime type: trafficking in drugs

Kiel handed “a small amount” of cocaine to an undercover cop. After he was arrested, his car produced $1,800, 40 grams of marijuana, and 86 grams of cocaine. Kiel received a sentence of 1,000 years for trafficking in drugs, 1,000 years for possessing marijuana with the intention of distributing it, 250 years for failing to have a tax stamp on the drugs, 250 years for keeping a car used for illegal activities, and 1 year for having drug paraphernalia, totaling 2,501 years. June 16, 2009, was the date of parole. He was sentenced to one of the 20 longest prison terms in history.

10- James Eagan Holmes

Length: 12, life sentences and 3,318 years

Sentenced Year: 2015.

Place: USA

Crime Type: Mass Murder

After the shooting in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, Ames Eagan Holmes became well-known on the internet. After entering a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, Holmes shot and detonated tear gas bombs at the audience. Sherlock Holmes killed twelve people and wounded seventy more. Holmes was given a different life sentence for every victim that died. In addition, he was given one of the 20 longest prison terms in history.

9- Abdullah Barghouti

Length: 5,200 years without parole + 67 life terms

Sentenced in 2004

Where: Isreal

Crime Type: Murder

One of Hamas’ principal bomb makers and Al-Qassam Brigades leader. The longest sentence ever handed down outside the United States, Abdullah al-Barghouti is being held in isolation and cannot see other people since he was convicted of the murder of 66 Israelis. It is stated that if Israel is forced to leave its area, Abdullah al-Barghouti will be taken along with it, according to the Israeli officer in charge of his file. In response to accusations that he had conducted seven operations, a military tribunal sentenced Al-Barghouti to 5,200 years in prison and 67 life sentences. He received one of the 20 longest prison terms ever imposed worldwide.

8- Adnan Oktar

Length: 8,658 years

Sentenced in 2022


Kinds of crimes: sexual abuse and fraud

On July 11, 2018, Oktar and more than 160 of his coworkers were detained by the Turkishpolice’s financial crimes division on charges of financial fraud, sexual assault, and creating a criminal business. The longest sentence in the US for sexual assault and fraud, according to TRT. originally imposed a term of 1,075 years. On November 17, 2022, he was retried and sentenced to 8,658 years. It is also included in the list of the “20 longest prison terms ever handed down worldwide.”

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7- Dudley Wayne Kyzer

Length: three life sentences plus 10,000 years

Sentenced between the years 1977 and 1981

Place: USA

Crime Type: Murder

After Dudley Wayne Kyzer shot and killed his mother-in-law, his estranged wife, and an innocent college student, one of his prosecutors referred to Kyzer as a “born killer.” Kyzer initially received the death penalty in the electric chair at his 1977 trial, but authorities eventually reversed the sentence due to its harsh nature. In 1980, the court gave him three life sentences plus an extra 10,000 years when they tried him again. Kyzer’s friends visit him while he’s incarcerated and witness his transformation into a born-again Christian, but authorities have rejected his parole ten times. Furthermore, people consider his punishment as one of the 20 longest prison terms ever imposed worldwide.

6- Darron Bennalford Anderson

Distance: 11,250 years

Sentenced in 1994

Place: USA

Crime types include robbery, kidnapping, and sexual assault.

Maximum penalty issued after an appeal. chosen for a 2,250-year sentence following a conviction for multiple offenses, such as theft, robbery, abduction, and the rape of an elderly woman in Tulsa County. He appealed, which led to a new conviction, a new sentence, and a reduction of his sentence by 500 years. As a result, he now faces a 9,500-year prison sentence. Also, his sentence is regarded as one of the world’s longest jail terms.

5- Pudit Kittithradilok

Distance: 13,275 years

Sentenced in 2017

Where: Thailand

Fraud is one kind of crime.

Found guilty on 2,653 fraud-related counts. He admitted running a Ponzi scheme in which he deceitfully promised investors huge financial returns. Over forty thousand people contributed $160 million (£120 million) to his ventures, and his sentence is regarded as one of the longest prison terms in history. According to the prosecution, Kittithradilok offered seminars in which attendees were encouraged to invest in companies that he referred to as involved in used cars, cosmetics, real estate development, and exports.

4- Allan Wayne McLaurin and Darron Bennalford Anderson

Distance: 21,000 years

Sentenced in 1994

Place: USA

Kind of Crime: Abuse of Children

After forcing the elderly woman’s car off the road and committing other heinous acts, these two Tulsa County criminals sexually assaulted her over a period of time. They had also committed larceny, robbery, and kidnapping.

McLaurin appealed his sentence after receiving it, and the court subsequently reduced it by 500 years. Authorities gave Anderson an extra 9,500 years to serve out his present sentence after he filed an appeal and was found guilty a second time. McLaurin and Anderson have sentences that total over 32,500 years. Furthermore, people believe that his sentence ranks among the top 20 longest jail terms ever imposed globally.

3- Charles Scott Robinson

Duration: 30 000 years

Sentenced in 1994

Place: USA

Kind of Crime: Abuse of Children

Charles Scott Robinson received the longest prison term ever for a single offender in American history for a number of offenses. The court found Robinson guilty of six counts of sexual assault against a three-year-old girl, and each count carried a penalty of five thousand years. Given Oklahoma’s reputation for applying harsh sentencing standards, Robinson’s case was no exception. The court gave him consecutive terms in order to ensure that he would never be able to evade punishment.

2- Otman el-Gnaoui, Jamal Zougam and Emilio Suarez Trashorras

Distance: 42,924 years

Sentenced in 2007

Where: Spain

Crime Types: Terrorism, Mass Murder

Authorities found that these three men masterminded the 2004 Madrid bombings, which caused 191 fatalities and over 1,800 injuries. The attack involves placing bombs on four separate commuter trains and is considered the deadliest Islamist terrorist attack in Europe.

1- Chamoy Thipyaso

Measurement: 141,078 years

Sentenced in 1989

Where: Thailand

Fraud is a type of crime.

Guinness World Records gave the longest sentence in history for corporate fraud in 2006. Furthermore, this is the longest officially verified sentence in history that does not pose a threat to life. She deceived more than 16,000 Thais in a $204 million pyramid scheme at the time. Thai law at the time scheduled her mandatory release date for 2009, but stipulated that a person found guilty of fraud may not spend more than twenty years in prison. In barely eight years, she received parole. This one is also on the list of the 20 longest prison terms ever imposed worldwide.

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