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The Influence Of The Three Strikes Laws

2272 words - 10 pages

The Three Strikes laws is a law that was first employed in the 1990’s and was established due to the public's dissatisfaction with other laws that were not reducing crime. In 2012 legislators finally realized that the Three Strikes law was not doing what it was intended to do and revised it to impose life sentences to the most violently dangerous criminals. The law allows for a person to be sentenced to prison for 25 years to life after their third strike. Prior to 2012 all crimes committed by criminals were considered under the three strikes. It suggested that if a criminal had two strikes and committed a minor crime they would receive the same punishment for the petty offense as the person accused of a major crime? For many years this is exactly what happened. California’s Three Strikes law had allowed no room for error to any criminal activity for repeat offenders. Once an individual had committed three serious crimes they are then sentenced to twenty five years to life in prison. At first society and government officials respond positively due to the getting tough on crime policy but did this law really keeping the public safe by locking up all those petty criminal offenders, or are we just spending billions of tax payers dollars on the prison system. What does it mean to be for or against it, should this apply to everyone in all criminal situations given the fact that some are minor verses major violent crimes? In a study by Kovandzic found, first, that Three Strikes laws are positively associated with homicide rates in cities in three strikes states and, second, that cities in Three Strikes states witnessed no significant reduction in crime rates. Kovandzic, et al. 2004. What Kovandzic is indicating is that criminals would rather murder someone in order to prevent from getting caught and receiving that final strike. The original Three Strikes law was first designated as a crime deterrent to repeat offenders however according to recent studies this has not been the case. Typically this would mean that after a person’s second conviction if they do not abstain from criminal activity the person will receive their third strike. This law ensures that repeat offenders stay in jail and protect law abiding citizens for a very long time. The law also meant to send a stern message to those who continue to violate the law, if you are convicted a third time you will go to prison for a minimum of 25 years. This message alone was first thought of to be a very strong deterrent in preventing any person from the continued criminal activity. The original Three Strikes law guaranteed that a third strike of any offense including minor offenses would count as a final strike which is where legislators went wrong. In California, a minor offense like petty theft as a third strike is also known as a “Wobbler” which can be used in a Three Strikes case and use it to convict a person under the three strikes. Customarily this applies to a person who has...

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