3 Strikes And Your Out Essay Research — страница 2

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Some police and court costs may be saved in not having to deal so often with such offenders once they are locked up, but greater prison costs overwhelm such savings. Many questions arise when getting the new law all squared away such as alternatives. What would happen if the state got rid of ?strikes? and instead guaranteed that those convicted of a serious crime serve their full sentence? In other words, what about adopting a law that sends those convicted of a serious felony to prison, eliminates ?good time? for such felons so that they must serve their full term, and shifts some minor felons from prison to probation? It is necessary to compare the benefits and costs of the new law and these alternatives, relative to the old law. But for all the alternatives to the new law, the

cost would drop more than the effectiveness. For example, applying the new law?s penalties only to violent felonies would save half its extra cost but retain two-thirds if its effectiveness . Cost effectiveness is not necessarily the most important criterion. To some people, a reduction in serious crime on the order of 30 percent would be attractive no matter what the cost. The new three strikes law does not crack down on first-time serious offenders. Instead, it expends large amounts of money keeping older criminals, including many convicted of minor offenses, locked up. The money to finance three strikes will have to come from somewhere. Health and welfare costs have been going up for a long time and show no sign of leveling off. The new three strikes law will double the

fraction of the general fund consumed by the Department of Corrections. Consequently, these increases will put enormous pressure on everything else the state spends money on. According to Clear, a mandatory sentence is a sentence stipulating that minimum period of incarceration must be served by people convicted of selected crimes, regardless of background or circumstance. The ?three strikes and you?re out? laws are examples of mandatory sentencing. In California, where they are most commonly used, the laws have resulted in clogging the courts, lowering rates of plea bargaining, and causing desperate offenders to violently resist arrest . As with all laws, there are the pros and cons that consequently follow them. One study has showed that the law did not have a large impact on

the reduction in rates of serious crimes or petty theft. Research in Los Angeles has shown that the impact of the law hits African Americans the hardest. According to statistics, during the first six months 57% of those charged under the new law were African American, which happened to be 17 times the rate of Whites. One California study reported that 84% of a sample of three-strike offenders ?had been convicted at least once for a violent crime,? as well as and average of five felonies a piece. This was revealed after it was argued that these laws unfairly affect nonviolent offenders. The three-strikes law is like a double-edges sword in that while it is successful at obtaining its objectives, it also has a flipside. Does the three-strikes law really make a difference, and

affect the crime rate? The following, according to Clear are the pros and cons regarding the laws in California. The law does incapacitate habitual offenders (its main objective), but there is no hard evidence that the law has had a deterrent effect on crime commission. The California law targets repeat felons but captures mostly nonviolent offenders. Three strike defendants decline plea bargains and crowd jails, which in turn leads to the early release of other offenders. Prison problems are exacerbated by demand for space, high costs of building and staffing, safety and health concerns for inmates and employees, and an escalation of geriatric inmate health care costs. Through the experience of other mandatory sentencing laws and the impact expected by them, it served as a model

for the three strikes law. In 1973, when New York imposed tough mandatory sentences for drug dealers, prosecutors had to reduce charges to get guilty please because the sentences raised the stakes for the defendant so high . Forty states employ some version of a truth-in sentencing law, and since 1996 the Department of Justice has provided more than $1.3 billion in the incentives grants programs. This has stirred up so much attention that the federal government has allocated most of the $10 billion for prison construction only to those states that adopt truth-in sentencing . Critics of Truth In Sentencing say the measure strains the already overcrowded state prison system. Others say the bill?s costs, with one estimate into the hundreds of millions, were not scrutinized enough by