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The Three Strike Law 1990s

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    The consequences of the three strike law are causing a strain on the criminal Justice system and the correction subsystem. Boot camps may be one of the solutions to the increasingly over crowded prisons. The challenges are increasing everyday for Correctional Officers, especially female officers who are already at a disadvantage. The three strike law became very popular in the 1990s. These statutes are enacted by state government and require the state court to hand down a mandatory and extended sentence to a repeat offender that has committed two or more previous offences.

    Between 1993 and 1995, 26 states and the federal government passed three strikes laws. The lawmakers were forced to take a second look at the punishment of repeat offenders after the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas by a paroled repeat offender. The consequences that the three strikes laws have for the criminal justice system is that not all crime warrant a life sentence. Under this law, the judges and jurors hand are tied. They have no control over sentencing if the offender is found guilty. A life sentence for a charge of theft may be considered cruel and unusual.

    This would be a clear violation of the eight amendment rights. The prisons are overcrowded as it, so this “cookie cutter punishment” will only intensify the situation. There definitely should be a law that deters repeat offenders, but the punishment still has to fit the crime. Boot camps are military-style, semi-penal institutions that use discipline, military exercises, and rigorous physical training. A defiant adolescent, after successful completion, supposedly return home willing to obey authority, follow rules, and improve behavior at home and school.

    There are no therapies at these camps. The idea is to break the juveniles’ spirit and build him back up in the way that is socially acceptable. In the past, there have been multiple reported incidents of abuse by staff at these boot camps. There have also been reports of the program’s ineffectiveness. It is a great idea to send a troubled teen to boot camp since he will only end in jail if left untreated. The fact is, the whole boot camp process have to include the parents and some outside therapy.

    The kids may be going back to the same issues that cause the madness in the first place. I think boot camps should be an alternative to juvenile prisons. As stated earlier, our prisons and Jails are extensively overcrowded. The government is constantly cutting cost by eliminating probation officers and the post sentencing programs. A convict that completed a twenty year sentence is released into society with little or no reintegration. This is a precursor to recidivism. Most offenders are in prison because they are unemployed, uneducated, and live below poverty levels.

    Knowing this, it only makes good sense to provide them the options to change their mentality. This can be achieved through rehabilitation and educational programs immediately upon incarceration. After release from prison, the rehabilitation has to continue, to help this convict understand why his ways of thinking landed him in prison. These changes to the correction and probation department will be the best solution for jail overcrowding. The challenges facing women who work as correctional officers are similar to challenges in other professions.

    The first and most common challenge is sexual harassment. Surprisingly enough, this act is committed by fellow officers. During training a female officer is taught the importance of not accepting sexual harassment, but they are also taught to be tough. Sometimes the “be tough” training is perceived to be more physical than emotional. Emotional toughness is needed to fight sexual harassment and this is why it usually goes unreported. Females working in a male dominated world, it require more than average to be successful.

    Emotional intelligence is needed to deal with daily issues from both fellow officers and inmates. Some of the challenges female officer’s faces from the inmates are size of the officer, physical capabilities, not taken seriously. A female officer’s size can be an invitation for inmates to commit some kind of violation. Her physical abilities are also taken into consideration when an inmate decides to break the rules. Depending on her personality, she could give a command repeatedly and the inmates may not comply because she may not be as forceful as the male officer.

    Because of these restrictions she may always need another officer within close proximity, since anything can happen at anytime in prison. There are many things the government can do to eliminate some of the issues in the criminal justice system. The sentencing under the three strike law needs to be updated. They can provide more state run boot camps to prevent teens from going to an already over crowded prison. Hiring more officers can counteract some of the challenges female officers face on a daily basis. These changes may cost money today, but will pay off in the long run.


    1. http://www. edubook. com/the-pros-and-cons-of-three-strikes-law The Pros and Cons of Three Strikes Law R. Elizabeth, C. Kitchen Sep 2002 2. http://www. articlesbase. com/parenting-articles/effectiveness-of-teen-boot-camps Effectiveness of Teen Boot Camps 2007 3. http://www. articlesbase. com/national-state-local-articles Overcrowding in Prisons Sep 2009 4. http://www. utsa. edu/swjcj/archives/3. 2/CheesemanWorley. pdf The Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice Volume 3, Feb 2006 Cheeseman, Worley

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