San Diego State University
“Three Strike Policy”
California three strike sentencing law was originally enacted in 1994. The law states that any offenders that committed any violent or serious felony offense (after two or more of the same conviction) are sentenced 25 years to life. Researchers believe that crime rate dropped in the 1990’s due to the harsh punishment of this policy. In the article, The Hidden Impact of Three Strikes, author Julia Reynolds states that “crime rates have been going down, down, down. I attribute it to harsher sentencing” (Reynolds, 2009). Studies show that that indirect deterrent and incapacitation of potential crimes attributed to the crime reduction in the 1990s. There are positive and negative aspects of Proposition 36 and Proposition 66. Many residents of the state of California have mixed opinions because of these two propositions. Many California residents experienced shocking events that influenced their negative opinion of the changes of “The Three Strike Policy”. These people had loved ones such as family members and friends who experienced violent crimes and deserve to be incarcerated. Finally this paper will discuss the “pros” of these two propositions that occurred in the state of California and how it related to my personal life experiences at my former job. In 2004, California implemented a change to Proposition 66 to amend California’s three-strike law policy. In the article, “Arguing Three Strikes” the author, Emily Bazelon, states that “Proposition 66 would have reduced the number of people going to prison for life by removing nonviolent property and drug offenses from the list of three- strikes crime”(Bazelon, 2010). Some of these offenses that the author was arguing about were minor charges such as drug crimes and petty theft. Many offenders are prosecuted to life sentences because of the newly implemented change.. An example of this was Norman Williams who was convicted to life sentence due to robbery and petty theft charges, placing him into the category of a repeat offender. Reynolds continues by stating that “most people don’t realize petty theft with priors is a third strike and can get you in prison” (Reynolds, 2009). Williams’ deviant act caused him 25 years to life in prison because of the policy. Unfortunately, he never learned from his past deviant behavior.
From my own experience as a former Asset Protection Specialist, I apprehended and detained shoplifters who were repeat offenders that committed petty theft, robbery, and burglary. Any given suspect, who I apprehended and detained, usually committed petty theft. The typical dollar amount of stolen products was 20 dollars, for example, heartburn medication at a pharmaceutical store. This suspect was an Original Gangster (OG) and part of a gang called Florencia 13 Gang in Los Angeles. This man was on his second offense and was sentenced to life sentence to 25 years to life. Suspects like Williams or the suspect that was apprehended and mentioned last night), cannot get jobs after they are from prison. No agencies are going to hire criminals with criminal background to work for them. The government doesn’t realize that they will commit crimes in order to survive in this society or I believe that the government implemented this policy with the idea that criminals will commit a deviant act no matter what, knowing that they will go back to prison.
Instead of negatively influencing offenders, the government should implement programs for offenders to have a second chance in life. For example in this article the author mentions Eileen Richardson, who “runs a $500,000 program in down town, which contracts with the city Palo Alto and local nonprofits to provide janitorial services. The work is done by former offenders and homeless people” (Bazelon, 2010). If programs like Richardson’s are implemented more in this society, the