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Proposition 36

In: Business and Management

Submitted By caforrest33
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Proposition 36
California’s Proposition 36 seeks to revise the harshest Three-Strikes law in the United States. The Three-Strikes Law, which was passed in 1994, states that any person convicted of three felonies automatically receives a life sentence, no matter the degree of the third felony. The notion that was given when the law was passed was that it would only be enforced for violent and serious criminals, but recent cases in which some felons have been sent to prison for something as minor as stealing a piece of pizza, have proved otherwise. If passed, Proposition 36 will likely fix most of the concerns that those opposed to The Three-Strikes Law possess. Supporters of the proposition state that Proposition 36 will lower the number of prisoners in California State Prisons, reducing overcrowding, while also saving the State of California an estimated 70-100 million dollars annually, which could be spent to aid other problems that are currently affecting California such as education. However, those who are opposed to the Proposition argue that even with the revision of The Three-Strikes Law, it is still too automatic and the reduction of crime as a result of the law is insignificant.
The concern that some have with the Three-Strikes Law for being too automatic, was an issue from the day the law was first drafted. Only 17% of the U.S. public, support mandatory sentencing under the Three Strikes Law without any consideration to the degree of the third defense. There are many cases in which citizens have received the life sentence that is mandatory under the law, for crimes that are usually categorized as misdemeanors. One of the most famous cases in which the Three-Strikes law has been deemed unfair, is the case of Shane Taylor. Shane Taylor was sentenced for 25 to life for possession of 0.14 grams of methamphetamine, which was his third felony more than ten years after the first two he committed. Burglary and attempted burglary were his first to convictions and although those charges seem like they could fall under the category of serious crime, nobody was harmed or no property was stolen in either of the two charges. Judge Howard Broadman, the judge responsible for sentencing Taylor, regrets the sentencing deeply, even though he was required to do so under the Three-Strikes Law. Broadman stated in an interview that, “I sentenced Shane Taylor 25 to life for a non-violent third offense, his first two offenses were not significant, and I made a mistake, and I’m sorry, I’m really sorry.” This shows that even those who enforce the laws don’t always agree with the decision for punishment, that they are required by law to make.
The second concern that many have with the Three-Strikes Law is the reduction of crime as a result of the law is not substantial, and the money that is being poured into prisons to control the influx of inmates, could be spent more wisely. The crime rate in California has been cut in half in the past twenty years, which makes the Three-Strikes law seem to be very effective, but when that is compared to the declining rate of crime in other states that enforce the Three-Strikes law or not, it proves otherwise. Big States such as Texas, New York and Illinois have experienced the same drop in crime rates, even though the Three-Strikes law is not enforced in those states, proving that the drop in crime is not attributed to the Three-Strikes Law. Furthermore, when compared to states that also enforce the law such as Washington, California imprisons 300 times the number of criminals, with only 5.5 times the population of Washington. As a result, a huge portion of taxpayer’s money has been spent on prison to house all of the inmates. If every inmate currently imprisoned under the Three-Strikes law were released immediately, the state would instantly save 1.3 billion dollars.…...

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