Judge — extremely illiberal — hauled up prisoner (5)
I believe the answer is:
'prisoner' is the definition.
(lifer is a kind of prisoner)
'judge extremely illiberal hauled up' is the wordplay.
'judge' becomes 'ref'.
'extremely' means to remove the middle letters.
'hauled up' is a reversal indicator.
'illiberal' with its centre taken out is 'il'.
'refil' back-to-front is 'LIFER'.
(Other definitions for lifer that I've seen before include "Serious criminal" , "One with very long sentence" , "Prisoner serving the maximum term" , "One given lots of porridge" , "Rifle (anag.)" .)