Essay about Reforming California Sentencing Law

1204 Words Dec 7th, 2013 5 Pages
Reforming California’s Sentencing Law

Hearing the words “three strikes, you’re out” probably invoke thoughts of umpires, baseballs, and pitchers in the minds of most. In California, if you are familiar with the legal system, “three strikes, you’re out” will likely give you a vision of thousands of inmates dressed in orange, sleeping on bunk beds inside overcrowded gyms. In November 1994, California legislators and voters made a major change to the California sentencing laws with Proposition 184. This proposition better known as the “3 Strikes Law” has long been a controversial topic in California. It has spurred debates as to whether it is considered cruel and unusual punishment for the thousands of repeat offenders
…show more content…
These crimes included such incidents as, attempting to break into a soup kitchen or stealing a dollar worth of loose change from a parked car. Statistics has shown that one-sixth of the current prison populations are mentally ill offenders who have been jailed for behaviors related to their illness. Under the 3 Strikes law an offender with prior offenses served double the sentence imposed for the crimes they have committed. An offender, who would be facing three to four years for theft, would be facing six to eight years under the 3 strikes law. The prison population in California increased 73% from 1990 to 2005 (blumenfield, 2011). The sentencing laws of the 3 strikes law are partly responsible for the increase in population, and current overcrowding in the state prison system.

Over the years there have been several attempts to repeal Proposition 184. Finally, in November of 2012 voters were able to agree with the reform law known as Proposition 36. This law was created as a last effort to ease overcrowding in the state prisons. Many people have been worried about the impact that releasing thousands of offenders back into the public would have. Prop 36 preserves the original idea for which Prop 184 was created; but also allows fairer sentences for the offenders that are not violent murderers or sexual predators. The current statistics show that the offenders released under Prop 36 have a recidivism rate of 2% as opposed to the 16% recidivism rate of Prop 184. For

Related Documents