Three Strikes Research Paper

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Every civilized society has to determine the best way to handle criminal activity. Some theories focus on what to do after crimes have been committed. Other theories focus on preventive measures to stop people from becoming criminals in the first place. So-called Three Strikes laws have been enacted across the country, and in federal law, to address repeat offenders. Although law enforcement touts the success of such laws, they have created undesirable results, including disproportionately oppressing minorities and those who suffer from mental illness. Three strikes laws are not a sufficient way to prevent or reduce crime.

The Three Strikes and You’re Out laws were first enacted by California voters in 1994. This law was in response to the
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In Special FBI Agent John Schafer’s article—The Deterrent Effect of Three Strikes Law—he gives a number of arguments as to why the law has been …show more content…
(ACLU) In states with these laws, criminals know that if they get a third felony conviction, they may face a prison sentence of 25 years to life. But no amount of punishment can deter all crimes. “For one thing, most violent crimes are not premeditated. They are committed in anger, in the heat of passion or under the influence of alcohol.” (ACLU) So, neither the Three Strikes law— nor any other punishment based law for that matter — can sufficiently address these types of crimes.

One unintended consequence is that criminals, with two felonies on their record, will become more violent to not get caught. (ACLU) If the criminal understands that their third offense will possibly lead to a life sentence, then the criminal has no reason go away quietly. The criminal with two strikes has every reason to avoid arrest, no matter the amount of violence it takes to do so.

Third, the Three Strikes law has led to people serving life sentences who have not committed serious enough crimes. (ACLU) The original intent of the California version of this law was to keep child molesters, rapists, and murderers off the street. (Stanford) Curtis Wilkerson is a counterexample to this intent.

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