Three Strikes Law

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THE “THREE STRIKES” SENTENCING:

WHY SHOULD IT BE ABOLISHED?
(FINAL DRAFT)

Tanisha Tate
CRMJ400: Criminology
Professor Conis
Course Paper: Final
February 13, 2011

Tanisha Tate
CRMJ400: Criminology
Professor Conis
Course Paper
February 13, 2011

The “Three Strike” Sentencing
The criminal justice issue that has been chosen as the topic on this course project is the “three strike” sentencing and how it should be abolished. The three strike sentencing was established in 1994 under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. (Harris, 1995). In this act, the statute of three strike sentencing provides a mandatory life imprisonment sentence for convicted felons that have been convicted in a federal court for a serious and/or violent felony and they commit two or more previous crimes that they are convicted of in federal and/or state court system in which at least one of the crimes is a serious and/or violent crime. These crimes can be but are not limited to murder, sex offenses, robbery, and kidnapping. The issue at hand is the question whether this act is really as effective as it is made out to be. Convicted felons are given two more chances to straighten up their acts and get their lives together to be able to live and reside in society. I believe that people who are convicted of a serious crime the first go-round should be punish by the same seriousness as the crime in which he or she committed. If they are giving a second chance to make become civilized and they commit another serious crime, then that should be an automatic life imprisonment sentence. I do not believe that they should be given a third chance. Once someone who commits a crime, they have the potential to commit the same or even more severe crime. It should not have to take the law and criminal justice system three chances to realize that a convicted felon is unfit to live along side with civilians. With this being said, this “three strike” sentencing should be abolished. This issue is very important because this sentence puts civilians back at risk of potential harm and threat by convicted felons, especially those who have convicted murder and/or sex crimes. Civilians should not have to continually be put back at risk by releasing dangerous convicted felons back into society because the system feels that they are capable of becoming civilized. This may be in some cases but certain not for all or even most. They should be stricter and set higher standards on how the system evaluates and establish such decisions, especially when it is society that will be affected mostly. These felons have previously committed serious crimes that had already altered the way of living amongst those people who were affected by the crimes they have committed. Giving them a second chance is one thing but to give them a third chance after the second chance fell through is completely ludicrous. The “three strike” sentencing should be abolished. Everyone may deserve a second chance but definitely not a third one. The “three strikes” sentencing law was originated in California. It was created in efforts to prevent offenders from becoming repeat offenders. (Kitchen, 2008). The three strikes sentencing states that when a person is convicted of three felonies, crimes in which a person can be sentenced to one or more years in prison, they will be sentenced to an automatic twenty-five to life sentence. (Messerli, 2006). There has been much criticism on this law and the effectiveness of it. It has mostly been condemned for applying a one-size-fit-all sentence to repeat offenders. But like any law, there are advantages and disadvantages. An advantage of the three strikes law is that it gives convicted felons a limited number of chances, normally three, in efforts to rehabilitate them to make them able to live in the civilized community. It gives those people who commit crimes the opportunity to change their ways of living and provide guidance to becoming a civilized...
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