The Three Strikes Law in Countering Crime


Limitation of crime is a necessary measure every government is obliged to take to provide safety for its citizens. Such an issue is urgent especially in the USA with its widespread homicide felony in each state. One of the most profound juristic implementations of the present is the Three Strikes and Youre Out law and its variations across the states. The three strikes laws force the offenders who convict a severe felony for the third time to serve a mandatory life sentence. The punishment implies an accumulative effect, as the harshness of a verdict increases respectively from the first to the third conviction. The three strikes laws were designed to deter crime by incapacitating serious offenders, and various researches demonstrate the states reached a certain success level in their purpose. Nevertheless, while the positive changes occur, the studies also prove the unjustified decisions against and the to be a serious concern.

The Deterrence Effect

The from the implementation of the laws is hard to deny. The preceding level of severe felonies in the United States was critical, and the community considered the three strikes laws enrollment a necessity. After the enactment of the law in Washington in 1994, several other states followed the example and also voted for such law (Siegel & Worrall, 2018). The harshest punishment for the third felony was accepted in California (Siegel & Worrall, 2018). According to the states legislation, those who conducted two severe felonies and were convicted for them previously should serve a life sentence for a felony of any severity (Siegel & Worrall, 2018). Such measures against crime in Californias legitimate system are often criticized and debated on.

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Several studies prove the efficacy of such strict policy, providing the numbers of criminals being sentenced through certain timeframes. For instance, one study demonstrated a decrease in convictions for the second-strike felons by 20% and for the by 28% (Winter, 2017). Another research found proofs of a felons incapacitation effect of these laws: According to it, approximately 31,000 crimes were deterred each year, and the average prison time for a criminal increased to 16.6% due to the three strikes law in California (Winter, 2017). Despite the confirmation of deterring efficacy, the other findings of each research show downsides of the law implementation. Among its drawbacks, there was an increase in violence of felonies that would lead to the third conviction, as an offender would already anticipate the harsh punishment. Another described flaw was that the increase in a number of sentenced offenders caused overpopulation in prisons (Winter, 2017). The studies did not include the cases of life sentencing for non-severe misdemeanors likeLockyer v. Andradecase, which took place in California and across the country (Boyd, 2014). In total, the improvements provided by the law are largely eliminated by its ambiguous effects.

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