Three Strikes Law

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Today there is a growing awareness of repeat offenders among society in reference to crime. Starting around 1980 there was noticeable increase in crime rates in the U.S.. In many of these cases it was noted that these individuals were in fact repeat offenders. So, on March 7, 1994 California enacted the Three-Strikes and You’re Out Law. This laws and other laws like it are currently being utilized today all around the Untied States. This law was first backed by victim’s rights advocates in the state to target habitual offenders. The reason California holds the most importance on this law is due to the fact that it has the largest criminal justice system in America, and it has the most controversy surrounding this law in particular.(Auerhahn, p.55)

The roots of this law actually come from Washington State. This state was the first state to actually pass a no-nonsense three strikes policy. The first movement toward this began in the summer of 1991 as research project for the Washington Institute for Policy Studies. The main goals for the project were to examine and review the current practices of sentencing career criminals, and to make recommendations as needed. The researchers wanted anyone who as convicted of a third serious felony to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. They wanted there to be no sympathy whatsoever for the criminals. This law was not enforced there until December 1993. (Lacourse, p.1)

In California, the most notable reasons for this law were promoted by Fresno resident, Mike Reynolds. In 1992, his daughter was attacked and murdered by two men whom were parolees. The gunman was killed in a shoot-out with police, while the other offender only received a nine year prison sentence. This outraged many, including Mr. Reynolds. He then approached two democratic assemblymen, then they drafted the first three strikes bill, which was defeated. Mr. Reynolds kept campaigning to help pass this bill. He soon got most of his backing from another case, the Polly Klaas case. In this incident a twelve-year old girl was abducted from her bedroom in San Francisco and murdered by Richard Allen Davis. Davis had a lengthy criminal history, and had been released from prison bore he committed this heinous crime. This very case became the public’s main tool in wanting to put an end to “career criminals.” So, in 1994 the bill was finally pas...

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...e data I gathered from both sides of the argument, I have come to a conclusion on whether the law is just. Personally, I feel these laws are not as harsh as some people have made them out to be. We must tackle criminals of any kind to maintain a good society. How can we have this good society if habitual offenders keep polluting it? Deterrence seems positively correlated with the facts I presented in the argument that supported the Three Strikes law. Crime went down with the implementation of these laws. My overall thoughts are that if a person cannot grow and learn from their mistakes to become better individuals, then they must be taken off our streets. Criminals are just that C R I M I N A L S. Certain crimes serve as stepping stones to more violent crimes. The threat of these long sentences may stop a second time offender from committing their third offense. This law can help reduce the prison population by serving as a deterrent to these potential repeat offenders.

I agree with this utilitarian method of law. The greater good is served by getting them of the streets. The punishment of the criminals definitely benefits society, and finally there is a means to reach an end.
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