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California's Three Strikes Law California's "Three Strik

California's "Three Strikes Law," enacted in 1994, mandates long prison terms or penalty enhancements for repeat felons. Backers of the Three Strikes Law argued that repeat offenders commit most felonies, so the law would reduce crime by putting them behind bars, often for good. Five years later, the law has succeeded in putting a lot of people behind bars. However, the Three Strikes Law has not accomplished its primary goal of cutting crime. This paper will argue that the Three Strikes Law has not only failed to reduce crime, the law has proven unjust because of its often harsh and arbitrary implementation.

California's legislature passed the Three Strikes Law in March of 1994 and Governor Pete Wilson quickly signed it. Eight months later, California voters put their stamp of approval on the new law by overwhelmingly passing Proposition 184, a ballot initiative that mirrored the language of the March legislation.

Specifically, the Three Strikes Law created penalty enhancements for repeat felons. Thus, the law lengthened sentences for some defendants based on previous transgressions rather than their current offense. For example, a second felony conviction could result in a five-year enhancement to that defendant's prison term, while a third felony conviction could bring a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life.

Five years later, crime is indeed down in California—way down. Backers of the Three Strikes Law point to this data as proof of the law's efficacy in reducing crime. Such a claim, though, ignores a host of other factors that have contributed to the decline in crime, not only in California but nationwide.

Convincing the public otherwise, however, may be impossible. The Three Strikes Law gained favor with a public increasingly anxious about crime. Though crime rates had fluctuated from year to year, in the early 1990s America's overall crime rate (including violent crime) stood roughly at the same level...

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California's Three Strikes Law California's "Three Strik. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 16:23, December 07, 2021, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1681489.html