In the early nineteen-seventies, the state of California reported a radical increase in crime rates compared to the rest of the nation. In order to make California a crime free state, it began moving away from sentences that emphasized rehabilitation of criminals and started focusing more on retribution and prevention. This legislative movement was to extend jail sentence for certain crimes and transform felony sentences from undetermined to determined imprisonment terms.
During the nineteen-eighties, the legislature continued to increase jail terms for felonious offenses, but crime and homicides were on the rise in California, despite the dynamic changes and continued to rise until nineteen-eighty two with the enactment of the victim’s bill of rights; this bill of rights officially recognized the victim’s side of unfair prosecutions. This led to the creation of a new five year enhancement plan for felons who had a previous conviction for serious offense and then committed a new serious criminal act.
A report created by the Federal Department of Justice in nineteen-eighty nine indicated that most of the nation’s crime rates related to offenders who were released back in to society early from current sentences for serious felonies. According to this report, a total of 63% of inmates released from prison in nineteen-eighty three ended up returning to prison with new serious offenses within the first three years of their release. The report also indicated that inmates involved in the study had been guilty in roughly twelve or more previous offenses before being sentenced and release in nineteen-eighty three.
In the year nineteen-ninety two, an eighteen year old boy’s life was taken during the commission of a robbery by a felon who was out on parole. The father of the boy together with a group of judges, law enforcement representatives and attorneys gathered for a meeting to discuss the current sentencing practices. The following year, the boy’s father testified in front of the California senate in support of a law to establish a “three strikes, you’re out” sentencing structure, which was designed to provide longer sentences of twenty-five years to life in prison for offenders who were repeat offenders of serious crimes. In the beginning it did not receive much support, but later gained enough support and votes to create the first “Three strikes” law in the nation. President Bill Clinton officially signed it in to law in nineteen-ninety four.
The three strikes law created a sentencing structure that ensured longer jail terms and greater punishment for those offenders in society who have previously been found guilty of the same serious violent felony offenses or other felonious crimes. This law has two provisional sentencing mandates; a two strikes provision and a three strike provision. The two strikes provision doubles the sentence for second strike offenders who have one prior conviction for a serious felonious act and are found guilty of...