Analysis Of The Three Strikes Law

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In 1990, the federal justice system of the United States enacted a controversial policy that would become known as the Three Strikes law. Under this policy, courts are required to apply mandatory incarceration – often for periods extended a great deal further than would be found in similar situations of incarceration – for those convicted of a serious criminal offense on three separate occasions. The theory behind the implementation of the Three Strikes law is that pervasive criminal activity is the sign of chronic criminality that normal methods of correction are ineffective in dealing with. Thus, these pervasive criminals are jailed for more lengthy periods as a way to uphold public safety. Naturally, critics of the Three Strikes law are vocal in their dissent. Ultimately, they argue, these laws are incapable of considering issues of circumstantial justice in which a judge can uniquely consider certain cases on internal merit rather than being directed and, in many ways, involuntarily compelled by external forces. This flexibility for judges, it is argued, is necessary as not all repeat offenders threaten public safety inherently. Further, many point that these policies only serve to perpetuate a criminal’s offenses due to the highly politicized nature of the Three Strikes law. Often in an attempt to appear harder on crime, politicians will react to high-profile cases with a feeling of extreme prejudice, nearly to Draconian practices. As a result more minor cases are afflicted with harsher punishments as a result of this same “hard on crime” stance. Failure to incorporate or even consider aspects of rehabilitation perpetuate a cycle of crime in which the punishment no longer fits the deed. It is important to consider t... ... middle of paper ... ...than punishing the natural byproduct of this situation – crime – we should look to mitigate the factors that affected the individual in the first place. Enacting policies that force criminals convicted of multiple crimes to become productive members of society by equipping them with the tools necessary to further their education and receive additional job training will help to keep the repeat offenders from prison and help the general public by reducing the costs of prisons and by incorporating a wider array of productive contributors, and would help lessen the over-crowdedness of state penitentiaries and allow them to be filled with only violent offenders. These three steps are important advances that must be made to reform the Three Strikes law so as to better serve our criminal justice system, the inmates wrongly impacted by the law, and the citizenry at large.

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