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Criminal Justice - Essay Example

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The catchy slogan “three strikes and you’re out!” may be a familiar phrase in baseball but the American sentencing laws has come up with a more infamous implication of the phrase. The three-strike law, which to this date has been adopted by thirty-eight states, refers to a…
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Download file to see previous pages Recent studies have revealed however, that the law did not only fail to meet its purposes but it has, at times, became a tool of injustice.
The idea of a Three Strikes Law became compelling in the early 1990s because of the proliferation of serious crimes and several widely publicized cases. The cases of Polly Klass, a 23-year old girl, who was abducted and murdered in California and Diane Ballasiotes, a Washington resident who was raped and murdered served as catalysts to the adoption of the law. In both cases, the culprits were parolees. Thus, in 1993, Washington adopted the Three-Strikes Law and a year later California passed and ratified theirs. The fundamental feature of this law is that it increases the penalty of convicted offenders on their third conviction (Samaha 2005 p. 376). To date, thirty-six states, in addition to the earlier two, have three-strike laws (Other States 2002).
In 2002, the Justice Policy Institute conducted a research on the impact of the law. The study which covers the period from 1993-2002 shows that California had imposed the law four times the number of those of the other striking states, combined. Yet, as shown on Table 1, there is not much significance in the change of crime rates between striking and non-striking states (Schiraldi et al pp 9, 13-16).
The study also compared the crime rate decline in California and the state of New York, a non-striking state, in the same given period. Surprisingly, New York outperformed California both in Index Crime Rate and Violent Crime Rate decline, as shown in Table 2 (Schiraldi p 10).
The Criminal Defense Clinic of the Stanford Law School recently reviewed cases of incarcerated offenders under California’s Three Strikes Law (Three Strikes Sanity 2009). To date, four offenders have been freed after judges were persuaded to take a second look at their cases. Most of these convicts had prior convictions in drug and theft, as well ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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