In Texas, a life sentence indicates that a prisoner must serve 40 years in prison before becoming eligible for release as of 2015. Inmates convicted of capital crimes were eligible for release after 15 or 20 years prior to the establishment of the 40-year rule.
If the inmate is denied parole at the initial hearing, the matter is postponed for up to two years, after which the inmate can reapply for parole. The length of the delay is determined by the type of the crime for which the offender was convicted, with capital murder cases being automatically fixed at two years.
Texas also passed a law in 2005 that made it possible for anyone guilty of specific crimes, such as murdering a child or a police officer, to get a life sentence without the chance of parole. The number of people sentenced to death in the state has decreased significantly as a result of this legislation.