Are Three-Strikes Laws Fair and Effective

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Charleen Moore
English 105, PCC
Monday and Wednesday
March 26, 2008


The American public is alarmed about crime, and with good reason. Our crime rate is unacceptably high, and many Americans feel like prisoners in their own homes, afraid to venture out for fear of becoming another statistic. Nation-wide attention was focused on so-called three-strike laws in 1994 when California voters approved an initiative mandating prison terms of 25-years-to-life for defendants convicted of a third felony. The California law also doubles minimum terms for second time offenders. The prison population has grown so much that most are already filled beyond capacity and many more prisons need to be built; tax payers will have to foot the bill. Three-strike laws are not effective crime prevention measures, they are unnecessarily harsh sentencing guidelines that punish harmless petty criminals and overcrowd our prisons.

Today I am going to inform you of the problem with the Three-strike law, how it affects us, how it is abused, and finally what can be done to change this law. Statistics
There are 2 million people behind cars in the U.S., including local jails—twice as many as a decade ago. •Approximately 2,700 “third strikers” received at least a 25 years-to-life sentence for nonviolent and non-serious offences •The most common charges leveled against third-strike criminals are drugs, theft and burglary •The cost to house each offender is approximately $600,000 for a period of 25 years according report done by Charlene Muhammad in 1999 •According to Dan Macular, Associate Director of the Justice Policy Institute say’s the three strike law is a bust and a study found no evidence three strikes reduces California crime. The study also found wide disparity on how the law was invoked. Using crime data from 1991 to 1997

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Today I am going to tell you about the history of the...
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