Three Strikes Law

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The Three Strikes Law

The three strikes law encompasses special statutes that suppress habitual offenders. Twenty-four states have implemented the enactments to oblige state courts to subject constant offenders to tougher penalties on the second and the third time for repeated felonies. The policy has been a subject to controversy in states, such as California, because misdemeanor offenses are tantamount to felonies. If a court prosecutes and imprisons an individual for the second time for engaging in crimes, such as robbery with violence and murder, the regulation reduces the chances of such people to receive alternative punishment instead of a life sentence. Although the gravity of the current and previous crimes determines the verdict given on the third time, it ranges from 25 years to life imprisonment. Its aim is to restrain criminal recidivism associated with routine culprits by use of physical incapacitation acquired through incarceration.

The name of the principles originates from the baseball game that allows a player to take on two strikes before hitting out the third time. A deep comprehension of the principles is important because potential crime parties have incentives to refrain from breaking the law. The research will use qualitative sources to portray the logic of the decree. Besides, it will investigate whether all the criminals have to commit a crime three times for him or her to receive lifetime confinement. In order to understand the laws efficiently, the paper will explore the origin of the law and factors that has motivated its enforcement in some jurisdictions.

Literature review

Brown, B. and Jolivette, G.(2005). A primer: Three strikes – the impact after more than a decade. Retrieved from

The source summarizes the three strikes. The law passed as Chapter 12, Statutes of 1994 (AB 971, Jones). The regulation was essential in the 1990s to curb the frequent murder cases associated ex-convicts. The validity information is high because it is the government publication. The content is free of bias since it aims at informing and educating the public. The website has accomplished the obligation through a systematic outline of the origin of decree, development, and efficiency.

The article is valuable to readers because it begins with developing a rationale for the three strikes as well as the primary characteristics of all the three features. In addition, the resource defines the primary terms that the readers need to understand the concept of sentencing criminals. The article is suitable for people with no background in criminal law, since it uses picture pictorial outline. In particular, the depicted underlying principles serve to illustrate the difference between the sentencing procedures prior to the enactment of the three strikes principles and potential sentences. Correspondingly, individuals face them since the California state consented application of the legal principle within its jurisdiction.

In addition, the author has used three prime cases to portray the consequences of the edict. Anyone looking for an informative primary resource, written in simple but precise language, will find the book a critical reference. It elaborates on the effect of the literature on the public safety, racial division, and specific ages. The research will apply the content of the article as evidence to prove that the initial three strikes law in California deserves amendment, since it causes intense suffering to unwarranted people.

LaCourse, R.D. (1997) Three strikes, you’re out: A review. Retrieved from

LaCourse was the primary Executive Director of Washington Citizens for Justice. Besides, he is a retired research evaluator of the Washington Institute for Policy Studies. As a result, he has massive understanding of the concepts he elaborates, since he advocated for implementation of the policy. He asserts that the aim of the research was to come up with efficient strategies to minimize chances of acquitting violent gangs that may be a security threat to their colleagues. The review will serve as evidence of the value of the policy in the Washington State. Besides, it will assist to compare and contrast the differences of the law practicability from other states.

Considering that the information is primary data from the research group, the credibility of the information contained in the essay is high because it formed the foundation that other states adopted. LaCourse states that gangsters that engage in violent crimes, at least twice, are supposed to be jailed for life or a term exceeding 25 years. However, the individuals can apply for parole if they indicate significantly improved behavioral patterns. On the same note, elderly inmates are also eligible for early release once they are over sixty years. The review will help to explain the function of the three strikes act within the Washington state. Finally, the archive will demonstrate whether the enactment has helped outlaws to change their behaviors, or it has escalated hooliganism as well as the cost of running penitentiaries.

Parker, R. N. (2012). Three-strikes law fails to reduce crime. Retrieved on 13th April, 2015 from

Parker (2012) investigates the effect of the three strikes law in California. His interest specifically lies in establishing the pros and cons it gives the target group. Though he observes that hooliganism has drastically reduced, he delves into statistics and research to evaluate whether the decline can be associated with tough ethics. The writer draws evidence from diverse credible sources such as national crime data to enhance the credibility of the results. Significantly, comparison of data from various states indicates that the crime reduction is relatively similar in both states that have approved the enactment and the jurisdiction that do not follow the obligation. As such, he delves into collecting data, information, and interviews to understand the cause of the similarity. The information will assist to understand whether there are alternative strategies that can replace the draconian rules without compromising the safety of everyone

Stanford three strikes project. (n.d.).   Retrieved from

The source reviews the importance of the three strike laws, their origin, and implementation in California. The author states that the terrible murders of Polly Klass and Kimber Reynolds triggered the adoption of the principle in 1994. Initially, the statute intended to keep dangerous offenders such as child molesters, murders, and rapists away from the citizens. Nevertheless, the source claims that the law has raised massive controversy, because over 50% of the victims behind the bars are accused of nonviolent mistakes.

The author argues that it is illogic to imprison one for life because of petty crimes. For instance, failed break-in to a soup kitchen or stealing one-dollar theft from a parked car is not a strong reason to necessitate the application of the three strikes law. Consequently, the voters showed tremendous support for the Three Strikes Reform Act, which recommended exemption of non-violent inmates from being subjected to the habitual offense principles because the measure does not enhance public safety. Furthermore, the auditors of California assert that three strike laws put in above $19 billion budget in the budget of the state. As such, Proposition 36 that lobbies for the application of the laws on serious offenders will only help to save the state between $10 and $13 billion dollars per year. The information in the resource is credible because the publisher is an academic institution that specializes in law matters. Therefore, its aim is presentation of facts for informational purposes.

Wishon, J. (2014). Nation of criminals: Three strikes on the way out? Retrieved from

Wishon (2014) asserts that the premise of the three strikes regulations is to restrain routine hooligans through long sentences without an option of early release. He notes that the policy is beneficial because it ensures that criminals go to jail for over half a century and the parole is only given to either elderly individuals or prisoners that have substantially reformed. However, the writer focuses on identifying the flaws that have implementation of the inadequate directive.

In fact, lawmakers are on the verge of reviewing the original bylaw. He investigates the suitability of the law in the modern world and the strictness of the administrators. She concludes that some states have found it draconian to jail a pizza thief for life or to confine to prison for even 25 years. Instead, she recommends the lawmakers to define the specific crimes that are eligible for the harsh penalty. Lastly, the article views the dilemma from a judge’s perspective when coming up with a verdict. The main contribution of the essay will be proving that the initial policy needs to be reformed to suit the present market.




Brown, B. and Jolivette, G.(2005). A primer: Three strikes – the impact after more than a decade. Retrieved from

LaCourse, R. D. (1997) Three strikes, you’re out: A review. Retrieved from

Parker, R. N. (2012). Three-strikes law fails to reduce crime. Retrieved on 13th April, 2015 from

Stanford three strikes project. (n.d.)   Retrieved from

Wishon, J. (2014). Nation of criminals: Three strikes on the way out? Retrieved from





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