Archive for the 'Crime' Category
Agree: Three Strikes Law

Agree with the three strikes laws?  There are a multitude of reasons that the three strike laws should stay in effect.  They are a strong deterrent for criminals to not commit a third crime.  Additionally, this law fixes the flaws in the American judicial system, so that repeat offenders can not abuse the system, instead these perpetrators will stay in prison where they are unable to commit further crimes.  This law only applies to three convictions for crimes and does not account for crimes that the criminals may or may not have committed.  The three strike law is necessary to help reduce crime rates and prevent potential future crimes.

The above graph shows that as a result of implementing the three strikes law in California that crime rates have significantly dropped per populous.  Criminals will obviously consider the consequence of a 25 year to a life time sentence for a third felony crime prior to committing their third felony.  Even though the three strike laws are meant to prevent a third felony crime from being committed, many criminals get away with crimes.  This means that criminals can only be charged under the three strikes law for the third time that they have been  convicted.  Additionally, this law fixes a problem in the current judicial system.  Many criminals will continue to commit crime after crime, but the three strike laws provide a strong resistance for further crimes prior to their first two convictions.  Most crimes are committed by repeat offenders and this law prevent future crime, so this is the reason that it has been so effective. The three strikes law has clearly had a dramatic impact on the crime rates; it has started to change the way that crime functions in society for the betterment of the general population.

The effects that the three strikes law has had are quite beneficial; crimes rates have dropped, and the way that criminals look at crime has also started to change.  The introduction of this law has provided a strong deterent against future crime from repeat criminals.  The problems in the American judicial system were addressed and fixed with the creation of the this law.  The three strikes law has had a significant and positive effect regarding the battle against crime.

Disagree: Three Strikes Law

Disagree with the three strikes law?  This law allows defendants to be sentenced to 25 years to life on their third felony if they have committed any 2 felonies in the past, even if they were a juvenile at the time.  Many of the defendants who are sent to jail due to the three strikes laws are nonviolent repeat offenders, which was not the purpose behind the creation of this law.  The three strikes law is unjustly harsh and takes power away from judges to treat people as individuals.  Three strike laws also encourage criminals to be more violent.  Also, this law is causing our prisons to become overcrowded and is increasing the cost to taxpayers.  The three strikes law causes many more problems than the benefits that it creates in our society.

There are numerous situations where the three strikes law punishments for crimes are clearly too harsh.  For instance, Ronnie Villa , a grandfather of 4, is serving 25 years to life for stealing 5 bottles of Head and Shoulders shampoo even though his previous felonies were committed 12 years earlier.  Robert Loomis’ third strike was from stealing a $37 calculator; his prior strikes were residential burglaries between 1986 and 1989.  On November 2, 2004, the voters of California rejected Proposition 66, which would have amended the state’s three strikes law to require that the third felony be violent or serious.  This law should be amended, so that nonviolent or non-serious crimes are excluded because many individuals had been given obnoxiously large prison sentences for petty crimes.

Additionally, the three strikes law should be removed or amended because of the negative impacts it has regarding our judicial system, taxpayers, etc.  The punishment should fit the crime according to the 8th amendment to the Bill of Rights, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed,  nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”  This concept is known as proportionality; it means that criminals should not be incarcerated for life because of relatively minor offenses, no matter how many they commit.  Also, judges lose the power to treat criminals as individuals considering the circumstances when imposing a prison sentence.  The harsh prison sentences that are given to many non-deserving crimes is causing prisons to become overcrowded, and this as a result increases the taxes for taxpayers.  Furthermore, three strike laws may actually encourage criminals to be more violent.  A criminal who knows that a 25 year to life sentence is expected will be much more likely to resist arrest, kill a potential witness, or try to escape as this person has nothing to lose.  The three strike laws need to be changed because of the dilemmas that they enable.

If three strike laws are not amended or removed, then more problems are due to arise.  These laws force unjust sentences for crimes that do not deserve such a punishment, and this directly contradicts our Bill of Rights.  A judge’s power to treat defendants as individuals is abolished.  The additional criminals that are imprisoned is adding to the problem of prison overcrowding and increasing the taxes.  Also, this law encourages criminals to be more violent and commit more heinous crimes.  The current three strike laws simply create more problems than they solve; these three strike laws have a negative impact on our society as a whole.