Three Strikes: Harsher Sentencing Of Repeat Felony Offender

1045 words - 4 pages

Between 1993 and 1995, twenty four states enacted three strikes sentencing policy which calls for much harsher sentencing of repeat felony offender. Most sentences for these repeat offender called for a minimum punishment of a life sentence with possibility of release until twenty five years have been served (1 Marvell, Moody 89). These laws where created to target and punish what lawmakers believed to be the small percentage of criminals that where committing the majority of serious crimes such as murder, rape, kidnaping, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, and sexual abuse.
The logical reasoning by law makers was that the threat of longer prison term would serve to deter repeat offenders, and would incapacitate the most dangerous of criminals for a longer amount of time (1 Marvell, Moody 90). Lawmakers assumption was that those that have committed crime in the past and have been convicted of that crime would be far less likely to commit crime a 2nd or 3rd time when faced with much harsher sentencing when facing the possibility of life in prison time (1 Marvell, Moody 90). However it has not been proven that the three strike sentencing initiative has had any tangible effect on deterring crime time (1 Marvell, Moody 90).
Most states had stiffer criminal sanction in place before the three strikes law came into play for repeat offender and most of these criminals would serve lengthy terms for their repeat offenses anyways, however the discretion to impose those lengthy prison sentences was at the hands of the judge time (1 Marvell, Moody 90). One must also consider that not all criminals are even aware that the three strike law exist much less are aware of what its implications would be on their repeat offenses. Another detractor of the three strikes law is if the criminal is aware of the three strikes law they may simply move to a jurisdiction that does not employ the three strikes sentencing initiative. They may also turn to other types of crime where the expected punishment would not be subject to the three strikes law, and thusly not expect to serve a lengthy time (1 Marvell, Moody 90 91).
California which has arguably been a major proponent for the wide spread use of three strikes sentencing, has recently begun to reconsiders its use. As the law is written in California any person convicted of a third felony offense will receive twenty five years to life in prison, even if the third felony is for a non-serious non-violent crime. In 2012 69 percent of Californians voted to reform the three strikes policy, now only those who are convicted of a third felony offense for serious or violent crime will be subject to the twenty five to life prison sentence. This new law also allows those that are currently in prison due to a previous third strike conviction that was of a non-serious or violent nature to petition the court for resentencing, which could mean that they are released from prison since most of these inmates have...

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