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Three Strike Law Essay

3659 words - 15 pages

Crime is viewed as one of the biggest problems in the United States of America. Americans fear for their safety. Their fear is often caused by dramatic media coverage of violent crimes. Even though, statistics show that violent crimes have been declining since 1991, more and more people are afraid of being victimized than ever before. The question that came to my mind right after reading these statistics, is how come more and more people are afraid of crime if it has been declining? The answer wasn't hard to find, because it was right in front of me. The media, who makes everything so dramatic, in order to make sales, is one of the people to blame for our fear of being victimized. Another reason is that our information resources have gotten so superior it allows us to find out what happens in another part of the world in instant seconds through the Internet. Although many people argue that it is good that we can find out anything right away, I would argue that it creates paranoia.So while violent crime rate has been going down for over a decade, many people have been jumping on a wagon to claim the responsibility for this great achievement. One of the reasons that many people use to describe crime decline, is giving credit to the controversial "three strike" law and the deterrent theory. People advocating for three-strike law use deterrence theory, and argue "if we make the punishment for crime more unpleasant, fewer people will commit crime." Criminal law and criminal justice system have some general deterrent effect. The law defines the boundaries of acceptable behavior and specifies the consequences of crossing those boundaries. However, what many do not realize is that law and Justice system are only two factors that shape our behavior. The most important factors that make us the people we are today are families, religion, schools, neighbors, friends and etc. Theory of deterrence involves a number of assumptions. It assumes that the "existence of an information loop involving offender's knowledge and perception: offenders have to be aware of the penalty for particular crime; potential offenders have to perceive the consequences of law breaking as unpleasant; and they have to believe in law and a real risk of arrest".Based on deterrence theory, that advocates for three-strike law use, there is a problem with the law, because majority of people who are being put to jail for 25 or more years are not realizing that they will go to jail for stealing a golf club, or a videotape. Doesn't seem unreal that someone could spend twenty-five years to life in prison for stealing a bicycle from the store? But, it is true. California's three strike law, which was passed in 1994, is difficult to understand. However, it means that if you have previously been convicted for committing 2 serious felonies (strikes), and then if you are convicted for committing a third offence, it could even be a misdemeanor, you may be sentenced to serve a minimum of 25 years in...

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