Monday, April 2, 2012

Three Strikes Law Is Missing The Mark

I believe that the the 'three strikes' law has proven to be inadequate over the duration of its usage. My reasoning deals with the fact that it requires a huge amount of money to keep it in effect, while it mostly strikes non-violent criminals and causes early release of the more violent or career criminals. Thus, I feel that the law is ineffective when it comes to controlling the rates of real criminals or decreasing the rise of violence
The 'three strikes’ law more often accrues for a minor felony than it does for any other type of more serious offenses. Therefore, People go to prison for much less. Often there is no violent crime at all and they are struck out. The statistics have shown that more than half of the ‘three strikes’ offenders are non-violent criminals that have been taken for only theft and drug or tobacco use (LAO). I believe that it is fairly obvious that putting these people in jail for life takes room for real offenders. With limited prison space, many violent felons who have only been convicted once or twice are being let out to make room for many non-violent three strikers. This does not make any sense to me. In addition, Letting out more serious and violent offenders for non-violent offenders increases the cost to society, since they are more likely to commit more violent and serious felonies than the non-violent three strikers. Thus, the law is inappropriate by engendering an influx of prisoners to an already overflowing prison system and an unbearable financial burden.
 The ‘three strikes’ law requires millions from taxpayers’ money to keep it in effect. Millions of dollars are spend to care and house prisoners. “Each prisoner serving a 25-to-life sentence cost the state about $500,000 over his or her lifetime. The annual cost of housing 29,000 non-violent second- or third-strikers is $632 million.” ( Los Angeles Times ). While, one third of the prisoners jammed into prison are those who are sentencing second- or third strike. The public is not really as concerned about minor felonies or even residential burglaries as it is about truly violent crimes. It does not want to pay for keeping non-violent criminals locked up, while the violent criminals are the ones deserving to be there. The ‘three strikes’ law seems not to be decreasing the rates of violence; it is proving to be completely useless. Then, why do people have to pay for keeping it in effect? The money is being misspent; therefore, it could be used for more effective laws.
I strongly feel that an alternative solution should be made to stop the negative affects of ‘three strike’ law, since it seems that it has caused more harm than good to our country’s well being. An alternative law would be to prohibit the law against minor (such as theft, drug or tobacco use). Instead concentrate on real, violent and cruel criminal offenders, and how to take them off the streets. Maybe even not giving them a third chance would be a good choice because their victims were not given three chances.
The ‘three strikes’ law, which was formed to decrease the violence in our society focuses on non-violent criminals instead of violent criminals and wastes huge amount of money, therefore proving itself to be completely ineffective. The law requires millions, while striking mostly non-violent criminals and putting them in jail for life; hence, causing early release of real offenders, it only becomes the reason for more harm. This law is so disastrous that even a California judge refused to obey the law and decided not to sentence a 32-year-old prisoner caught with two marijuana cigarettes under the ‘three strikes’ sentencing guidelines (NDSN). “Three strikes is a bust,” says Dan Macallair, JPI associate director and coauthor of the study, “Even worse, all the rhetoric and political grandstanding behind three strikes blinded us.” We all wish to live safely with less violent criminals wondering on our streets, however having this kind of “bust” law that is completely ineffective does not help us to accomplish what we are seeking for, which is safety. We should not give up, whatsoever and seek for better and even more powerful solution for this kind of important issue.


  1. I cant agree with you more. 3 strikes laws just arent working. In a time of recession money is on everyones mind and the amount being spent housing non violent criminals is almost not worth it. Going along with three strikes many of these people are drug offenders. It just doesnt make sense how people can look at the dollar figures and statistics and continue using this useless policy.

  2. If anyone is trying to fight this law in NJ, please contact me.

    Thank You