The Effectiveness of the Three Strike Law essay

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American society is worried about crimes, and not without a reason. The crime level is very high, and a lot of Americans feel themselves prisoners locked in their houses, afraid to go outside and become another victim. National attention got concentrated on the three strikes law. California voters initiated mandatory prison sentence of 25 years to the life sentence in jail for the defendants, who were convicted of criminal offences. The third strike law also increases the minimum time for the second offenders. The number of inmates grows so fast that many prisons all already overcrowded and more prisons should be built. In this situation taxpayers will have to pay the bills. Three strikes laws are not effective measures for prevention of crime, they are too heavy and serve as punishment to small criminals overflowing prisons.


In the research one will be able to find information on the problems of the three strikes law, how it affects people, how it may be abused, and the advantages and disadvantages of the law in different cases.

Main Body

Since the 1990s, states started to pass laws on mandatory sentencing for repeat offenders. These laws became known as the three strikes law. By 2003, more than half of the country and the government passed the three strikes law. They hoped that removing criminals away from the streets was a good social policy. The law has its critics claiming that sentences usually are unequal to the committed crimes, and that the detention of three strikes prisoners for 25 years to life in prison would drive up costs. However, the Supreme Court upheld the three strikes law and rejected most of the arguments that they constitute unusual and cruel punishment. In 1993, Washington first passed the three strikes law. Anybody who committed three different violent crimes should be jailed for the whole life in prison without the possibility of parole. In 1994, California took three strikes law that mandated a sentence from 25 years to life for three convictions. The Californian law included non-violent crimes (theft, burglary etc.) as a "strike" offense.  More than 50000 criminals got jailed under the new law by 2001. The number was higher than in other states, almost 25% of prisoners were sentenced to 25 years behind bars. The Californian law is the most debated because of the three strikes law.

Californian law did not allow judges to create reserves in prison for three strikes offenders.  The Supreme Court made a decision that the judges in some special cases were allowed to ignore the criminal recent record to determine whether the offender should qualify for three sentences strikes. Supporters of the law were sure that the drop in crime in the 1990s was due to a new scheme of sentencing. They relied on California statistics, referring to the fact that about 1000 offenders were sentenced to one year under the three strikes scheme in California. They were sure the law was successful, as the offenders were removed from streets and could not cause harm to the society again. The sentencing under the three strike law did not arouse criticism often. Critics point out that the 25-year sentence for third offense of theft is the same sentence as for a murder. They say that it is cruel to sentence a person for such small crimes for that long period of time. By the end of the 1990s, the number of calls was raised in many state courts, which were based on the disparity argument.

In the majority of states the laws the judges are very strict with repetitive offenders. However, they are very careful when it comes to the point of the three strikes laws. A harsh sentence is applied to criminals convicted in three crimes. The minimum what they get is 25 years behind the bars. The main role for the law was to protect citizens from criminals and gangsters, who carry on committing crimes even after serving their sentence. The punishment may seem too weak for them so they have no fear of the prisons or financial penalties. The statistics of the national justice shows the decline in a number of violent crimes. In 1994, California had the fourth highest crime rate in the country. Five years later, after the acceptance of the three strikes law, California has decreased its crimes position to 29th in the country.

Some prisoners under the three strikes law may become eligible for applying for sentence changing. If somebody has some serious, violent criminal record as soliciting murder, rape etc., he will still be entitled to 25 years or to life in prison no matter what was the third strike. Around 10000 prisoners in the state of California are the third strike inmates. About half were convicted of non-serious, nonviolent strikes. And around 2000 will be entitled to resentencing. It may save $100 million a year on prisons, paroles and operations. However, slightly over-budgeted prison system millions of dollars is the cost to the community if the criminals are let free. For example, 25 percent of offenders released have a high chance of committing serious crimes, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation static risk assessment. This compared with 6 percent so far in prison under the three strikes law.

However, consistent with the bipartisan legislative analyst workplace, violent crime in California declined by fifty one percent from 1991 to 2003, compared with a national decline of thirty seven. In California, it had been truly less crime cases in 2002 than in 1993, despite the rise in population in many times. Three strikes law keeps recidivist criminals off the streets for an extended time, preventing them from committing extra crimes and damaging the society. Studies show that within the 1st decades of its application, quite a couple of millions potential victims in California were reclaimed. Three strikes law solves this drawback with the assistance of enhanced sentencing. If an individual has one previous serious violent crime or conviction, the penalties for conviction of any new crime in half cases creating it a second striker. If an individual has 2 or additional previous serious or violent crime convictions, the penalty for any new conviction offense is incarceration with a minimum amount to be twenty five years recent. He is going to be the third striker. This system is far more rigid than the previous law. Previously, an individual guilty of 2 serious crimes, like felony and theft of residence, UN agency then committed one third of great criminal offenses, like another theft, however, would be sentenced to seven years. In addition, such persons are also free and back on the road when in 3 and 1/2 years for good behavior. Three strikes law is approved to forestall this case, taking account of crime and swing it on the criminal. This causes the system of criminal justice, human history once sentencing that person. This is often a positive issue for California. After sinking three strikes conviction in California, the Supreme Court of the U. S. mentioned another positive consequence of the law in California: additional parolees had to depart the state rather than enter it. This is most likely because of their worry of ill-usage within the future beneath the law. Critics accuse the three strikes law on jail overcrowding, and therefore the rising value of corrections in California. However, there are square measures but nine thousands, which one third of strikers in jail, six percent of the whole jail population.


It ought to be reiterated that the second and third strikers were guilty many serious and / or violent crime. Because of the high level of lapsing, the strikers can most likely be in jail, despite whether or not it had been 3 strikes for books. Three strikes law forestall career criminals to value the society within the variety of human suffering, crime investigation, arrest and prosecution. The movement to repeal or weaken the law argues that it's too onerous and obstructive of non-violent and / or serious crimes. The supporters of those movements merely do not perceive the law and do not see the positive sides of it. Besides the very fact that each one of the strikers had been guilty of great and / or violent crime, the law has no guarantees that the government provides prosecutors and judges with the discretion to settle on, if we have a tendency to take into account against the law strike. For example, they'll select not to take into consideration the previous offenses, once issue a strike if they confirm them to be dizzy, or for different reasons, to promote justice. Forwards with nonviolent drug convictions may additionally be entitled to be treated, and not serve any time in jail. Often, the media vie into the publicity and unfold the story of petty criminals fast up for all times for crimes being as tiny as stealing videotapes. It’s true that the case, however, is kind of completely different.

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