In those states with the three strikes laws, any person who has 2 felony strikes and commits another felony, whether it be violent or not, can be required to serve a sentence of 25 years to life.
Look at the case of Ewing v. California:
- Ewing v. California
- Click on the PDF link next to the case title.
The defendant had his third strike when he committed grand theft at a golf course in Los Angeles County. This was not a violent crime but he was subject to the three strikes laws. He appealed this case up to the United States Supreme Court—and lost.
The public has always been worried about violent crime, but just how worried are citizens about nonviolent crime? With mandatory sentencing, society will have many older inmates within the prison system. In the criminal justice community, it is known that inmates “age out of crime.” Can you imagine a 68-year-old man climbing in a window or jumping an 8-foot fence? By keeping these older inmates incarcerated, is this a disservice to society?
State prosecutors have the discretion to lower the charge so that the third offense would not be considered a third strike. For this assignment, you are a policy maker in your state legislature. You are concerned about the heavy tax burden on your constituents. The cost of the actual running of the prison and costs of personnel will rise.
You are also up for re-election, and the feedback that you have received from your constituents has shown that they are dissatisfied with the law that now stands. They are afraid of violent crimes, not just felonies, and are very aware that the last crime committed by the perpetrator does not have to be a violent crime. They are also worried about the use of their tax dollars to incarcerate nonviolent offenders.
Review and reflect on the knowledge you have gained from this course. Based on your review and reflection, write at least 400 words on the following:
- What were the most compelling topics learned in this course?
- How did participating in discussions help your understanding of the subject matter? Is anything still unclear that could be clarified?
- What approaches could have yielded additional valuable information?