Stike Out Three Strikes Essay, Research Paper
Last twelvemonth in California electors approved a controversial ballot enterprise.
Proposition 184, besides known as the three work stoppages and you ’ re out jurisprudence, was passed on
November 9, 1994. Under this new statute law repetition wrongdoers, upon perpetrating their
3rd felony discourtesy, will be sentenced to a compulsory 25 old ages to life in
prison ( California 667 ) . The enterprise passed by a landslide, with 76 % of the electors in
favour of it. The State Senate shortly after voted the measure into jurisprudence, with merely seven members
voting against it. The three work stoppages inaugural stemmed from the violent death of Polly Klass by
Richard Allen Davis, a convicted criminal. The killing outraged the full province but what
enraged people even more was that Davis had been in and out of prison his whole life and
was still free to kill once more. Soon people began naming for Torahs that would set repetition
violent wrongdoers behind bars for life. The premiss of the new Torahs became an easy issue
for politicians to endorse. To oppose such statute law seemed to be political self-destruction, so most
politicians backed the enterprise. Although many civil autonomies groups opposed such
compulsory condemning steps there was small they could in the face of enormous elector
blessing. Many electors did non recognize that this measure could set potentially incarcerate people
for farcical sums after the committee of a minor discourtesy. Even more electors did non
recognize the cost of implementing such a measure. Now that this new statute law has been in
consequence for a twelvemonth and the enormous negative effects it have become obvious we must
One of the issues that must be considered when enforcing compulsory sentencing is
the increased cost of captivity. In the province of California it costs $ 20,000 per twelvemonth to
imprison an inmate under normal fortunes ( Cost 1 ) . This sum of money could
set one individual through a province college for two or three old ages. Harmonizing to Beth Carter
the three work stoppages jurisprudence has placed 1,300 people in prison for a 3rd work stoppage discourtesy and 14,000
people in prison on a 2nd work stoppage discourtesy ( 1 ) . The current recidivism rate in California is
70 % ( 2 ) , which means that out of those 14,000 people that about 10,000 will be back in
prison for a 3rd work stoppage. To incarcerate those 1,300 3rd work stoppage wrongdoers for the mandatary
lower limit of 25 old ages will be the province of California $ 812,500,000. To back up
these inmates for longer periods of clip we will hold to increase the sum of money
traveling to our prison system. This means that either disbursement in other countries will be cut or
an addition of revenue enhancements. Neither of which is extremely favored by electors. On a national degree the
Justice Departments budget has increased an dismaying 162 % since 1987 ( Cost 2 ) . The
money that is being spent imprisoning these people can be more good spent in other countries.
The money can be spent on offense bar and rehabilitation, instead than requital.
Before the three work stoppages jurisprudence was enacted it had been estimated that to maintain up with the
turning prison population on a national degree that it was necessary to pass $ 100,000,000
per hebdomad on our prison system ( Ogutu ) . Now that we will be holding more and more
felons behind bars we shall hold to pass even more money edifice and maintaining up
our overcrowded prisons. Of these people that taxpayers are paying to incarcerate Mauer
suggests that every bit many as 80 % will be non-vi
olent wrongdoers. So far 80 % of the 2nd and
3rd work stoppage discourtesies have been for non-violent offenses, most of these being drug
discourtesies ( 23 ) . There have merely been merely 53 people with 2nd and 3rd work stoppage
strong beliefs for colza, slaying, and snatch ( Carter 1 ) . This jurisprudence ’ s deficiency of effectivity
clearly does non justify its immense monetary value.
The other facet to see in the execution of the three work stoppages statute law is
its consequence on non-violent wrongdoers. These are the people hardest hit by this jurisprudence. It is
hard see how society can warrant directing a drug nut to prison for 25 old ages at a cost
of $ 20,000 per twelvemonth when the money could be used to fund drug rehabilitation centres and
alternate plans for our young person. Most drug users are non in demand prison, they are in
demand of aid for their dependences. If a fraction of the money it would be to incarcerate them
is put toward drug rehabilitation plans it would salvage the province money, while at the
same clip assisting the person. The three work stoppages statute law is straight aimed at violent
offense, but its path record has shown that it has missed the grade by a long shooting. Some
wrongdoers have been convicted for a 3rd work stoppage on comparatively little discourtesies. For illustration,
a adult male named Steven Gordon was convicted for his 3rd work stoppage after stealing a billfold that
had $ 100 dollars in it. His old discourtesies had all been non-violent, yet he was
convicted under our three work stoppages jurisprudence ( Franklin 26 ) . This is non an stray incident either.
Franklin cites legion illustrations of instances where people were convicted under this
statute law for non-violent discourtesies ( 26 ) . These types of instances merely exemplify how the three
work stoppages statute law is aiming non-violent wrongdoers, as opposed to its end of aiming
After one twelvemonth in consequence it is easy to see what our three-strikes statute law has done.
It has become easy to visualize the long term effects of such wide statute law on our
society. Although this jurisprudence was enacted by the will of the people, it has non carried out the
will of the people. Peoples wanted a jurisprudence that would set unsafe repetition wrongdoers behind
bars for life. Alternatively we are now seting an progressively big figure of non-violent
wrongdoers behind bars for drawn-out periods of clip. It would be easy to warrant the cost of
taking a violent threat from our society, but warranting the cost of incarcerating people
who are of no menace to anyone but themselves is hard. We must look closely at what
this statute law has done so far. It has placed many more non-violent wrongdoers in prison
than violent wrongdoers. The statute law stands to be the province 1000000s of dollars per twelvemonth
to imprison people of longer prison footings. Clearly the three-strikes jurisprudence has non served
its intended intent it must be repealed.
California. California Penal Code.
Carter, Beth. “ The Impact of `Three Strikes and You ’ re Out ’ Laws: What Have We
Learned? ” Internet Article. Hypertext transfer protocol: //www.soc.umn.edu/ samaha/j11H1.html.
The Cost of Mandatory Minimums. Pamphlet. Families Against Mandatory Minimums,
Franklin, Daniel. “ The Right Three Strikes. ” Washington Monthly September 1994: 25-
Mauer, Marc. “ Three Strikes Policy is Merely a Quick-fix Solution. ” Correctionss Today
July 1996: 23.
Ogutu, Fenno. Class talk. Sociology 120. Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA.
13 Nov. 1996.