3 Strikes Law

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3 Strikes Law – “Zero-Tolerance? Justice Essay, Research Paper Three Strikes Law In recent years the surge in the population of the world has brought about new areas of concern for sociologists and criminologists. With more and more people populated our nation there is greater need for government-regulated programs to adapt with the increase. One aspect of society that has had to rapidly adjust itself constantly is the Criminal Justice system. The growing population has put pressure on the criminal justice system to decide on a method of maintaining order. There are currently two broad scopes on dealing with the problem of population control; one is the idea that we need to establish a system that keeps offenders out of prison, offering alternative punishments than

incarceration to keep prisons from overcrowding. Another idea is that we need to make an example that will deter others from committing similar acts of deviance. It is this ideology that has berthed the new wave of ?zero-tolerance? justice. A form of this is the new concept of mandatory minimums. These laws require a pre-defined punishment for certain crimes no matter what the situation. A subset of these laws is the ?three strikes laws? that are being adopted by more and more states. These laws give a three-time offender a very harsh punishment once convicted of his or her third crime regardless of any mitigating factors. First I would like to explain the ideology behind mandatory minimum sentencing. It is based on the idea that if you take an offender off the street after

committing multiple serious felonies then you stop him or her from committing more. Simple plan, difficult execution. For example a man writes two bad checks in two separate instances and is convicted on it each time?boom two strikes on his record. Now two months later he walks out of a restaurant without paying his bill, as he is leaving he runs into four policemen stopping by for a coffee and sweet, rounded pastry to quell their growling stomachs. The man is arrested for theft and waits his court date. The day comes and he stands in front of the judge preparing for his punishment. He hears it and falls to his knees, twenty-five years to life in prison?for stiffing and Eat-N-Park on a bill for $4.49. The rest of his life has been decided for him, not by the prosecution, and not

by the judge, but instead by the state government. Due to the ?three-strikes law? our friend has ?struck out?, his third offense lands him a strict punishment. Because he has already accrued two felony convictions prior to this one, regardless that they were non-violent, he is going to be sent up the river, sharing a sentence with serial killers, rapists, and bank robbers?only difference is that they all have a chance for parole. So three strikes seems like a gross exaggeration of the law, a true abomination of the justice system, cruel and unusual even. It is not that easy. What about when a child molester gets out on parole and kidnaps another, putting them through the same hell that he did the last child. He is a man that was to be rehabilitated by a state institution, deemed

?safe for society, and yet he slides into society and rips from it the innocence of youth. When this man steps in front of the judge and his time is before him, 25 years to life, everyone agrees that the punishment is just. The idea behind mandatory minimum sentencing has positive possibilities but politicians and high-ranking officials skew these motives. A senator will push for mandatory minimums to look like he or she is taking a ?bite out of crime?, not standing for ?soft touch? treatment of criminals. But what are they really doing, do they really care about the population or are they just trying to push a program that sounds like the end of crime to secure votes. Instead of analyzing the subject politicians try to use mandatory minimum sentencing as a ?quick fix? to crime.