Essay The Crimes Of The Criminal Justice System

Essay The Crimes Of The Criminal Justice System

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Repeat offenders are perhaps the most difficult offender population for the system to manage, and “protecting communities from these types of offenders may be the most emotionally and politically charged challenge for the criminal justice system”, even today (Dickey & Hollenhorst, 1999). As a result, harsher punishment geared towards repeat offenders had become increasingly supported by policy makers and the public during the 1980’s and 1990’s (Dickey & Hollenhorst, 1999). More Accurately, Washington was the first state to implement three strikes legislation in 1993; and shortly after, in 1994, 13 states and a federal version of three strikes had been imposed; the subsequent year, 9 additional states adopted similar laws (Dickey & Hollenhorst, 1999). While most states had already had statues providing longer sentences for career criminals, three strikes legislation was enforced as a means to impose lengthier sentences for repeat violent offenders (Dickey & Hollenhorst, 1999). Three strikes was the response to public concerns about crime and the idea that offenders were receiving shorter sentences than ever before. Three strikes legislation requires a person convicted with a felony, and has been previously convicted of one more felonies to receive a sentence enhancement (Brown & Joliette, 2005).
Supports of three strikes legislation believed that it was to be utilized as a means to control the crime problem and was the only way to keep violent repeat offenders off the streets (Brown & Jolivette, 2005). They felt that these laws would influence crime in two effective ways. The first by extending sentencing to remove repeat offenders from society for long periods of time and restricting their ability to commit crime, and second, th...

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...ntence does not fit the crime, in that, a relatively minor crime committed by a repeat offender could result in a much harsher punishment than a violent crime committed by a first-time offender (Brown & Jolivette, 2005). Three strikes also appear to grant prosecutorial or executive discretion, limiting judicial discretion in sentencing, which raised constitutional questions about the separation of power (Brown & Jolivette, 2005). In Ewing V. California (2003), the U.S. Supreme court ruled that it is constitutional to sentence a repeat offender to an indeterminate life sentence for the commission of a nonviolent or nonserious felony (Brown & Jolivette, 2005). The U.S. Supreme court also ruled in People V. Superior Court (1996), that three strikes did not eliminate judicial discretion to dismiss prior serious or violent felony convictions (Brown & Jolivette, 2005).

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