Three Strikes Law

Topics: Crime, Prison, Three strikes law Pages: 5 (1342 words) Published: March 25, 2014
Three Strikes Law 1


The Three Strikes Law
September 24, 2013
CJ526: Unit 2

Three Strikes Law 2

Three Strikes Law

The Three Strikes Law has been a subject of much debate since its introduction as a regulation in 1993. The Three Strikes law was enacted in 1994 and is widely recognized as the harshest sentencing law in the United States. “The State of Texas was the first State to enact such a law in 1974.” ( California passed its own law enacting a Three Strikes Law that mandates a sentence of 25 years to life for a third felony conviction. The reality of the Three Strikes Law will lead to a significant increase in the nation's already swollen prison population and will cost taxpayers enormous amounts of money. This law is one of the most popular controversial laws because it imposes a mandatory life sentence without parole on offenders convicted of three or more crimes. “Reporters took notes and media crews collected sound bites as Republican Governor Pete Wilson signed into law this popular, yet controversial, sentencing measure.” (Reynolds, 2012) The Three Strikes law is sentencing laws that mandate a prison sentence of 25 years to life for violent offenders who have been convicted of three or more offenses and is also a law that is codified in 26 states throughout the country and the federal government. It is the imposition of a life sentence for any felony conviction, no matter how minor the felony may be, if the defendant has two prior serious felony convictions. A third strike offense can be a simple drug possession or petty theft. The Three Strikes law also has a second strike provision, which doubles the sentence for any felony conviction if the defendant has one prior serious felony conviction. California’s Three Strikes Law is thought to be the most popular and have the most severe three strikes law in the nation. Three Strikes Law 3

Three Strikes Law

The law applies regardless of the seriousness of the prior felonies. Under our system of criminal justice, the punishment must fit the crime. Individuals should not be executed for burglarizing a house nor incarcerated for life for committing relatively minor offenses, even when they commit several of them. This principle, known as "proportionality," is expressed in the Eighth Amendment to the Bill of Rights. Is this a violation of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution? The 8th Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the use of cruel or unjust punishment by the state. Many would argue that certain clients' prosecution under the law violates the amendment. If just one case violates the amendment, the law is unconstitutional and should be overturned. ( In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 36, which has converted the punishment for repeat drug possession from 25 years to life in prison instead to be sent to a facility for drug treatment.” By 2001 over 50,000 criminals had been sentenced under California’s Three Strikes Law, far more than any other state, with almost one quarter of the inmates facing a minimum of 25 years in prison. Over 45 percent of inmates serving life sentences under the Three Strikes law are African American. (Stanford, 2012) California's State Auditor estimates that the Three Strikes Law adds over $19 billion to the state's prison budget. California's non-partisan has concluded that there is no evidence that the law contributed to California's decreasing crime rate. (Farlex, 2013) Although later adopted versions of Three Strikes Law vary among the states, the laws generally reduce judicial discretion by mandating severe prison sentences for third and in some cases first and second felony convictions.

Three Strikes Law 4

Three Strikes Law

“California ‘s Three Strike sentencing law has helped bring down crime throughout the United States.”(Reynolds, 2012) The Three Strikes Law...

References: Peschong, J. A. (2012, April 9). Pro & Con: Three strikes law has been effective - why change? Retrieved September 24, 2013 from,
The Tribune
Reynolds, M. (2012, February 13). Three strikes and you 're out: Stop repeat
    Retrieved September 21, 2013 from, Stanford Law School
Taibbi, M. (2013, March 27). Cruel and unusual punishment: The shame of
three strikes laws
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