The significant increase in prison terms has created unsafe, unhealthy, and potentially dangerous conditions for violent and non-violent criminals alike, frequently affecting the potential to rehabilitate felons. The Law has led to various unusual circumstances that have attracted national attention, especially those cases that send third-time offenders to prison for 25 years or more for simple, non-violent, victimless crimes, such as in the case of Santos Reyes in 1998. Despite the controversy and negative consequences, the Supreme Court upheld the Three Strikes Law, saying that it stopped short of constituting "cruel and unusual punishment."
The Three Strikes Law had the intention of limiting recidivism. However, numerous studies suggest that declines in recidivism have been negligible. This is another unintended consequence of the Three Strikes Law; the general failure to curb third offenses. Violent crimes have dropped in urban areas in California, but those declines are in line with declines in surrounding states, indicating no impact made by the Three Strikes Law (Beale, 2010). The results of other states that have similar multiple offender penalties demonstrate a mixture of results that fail to conclude the efficacy of the Three Strikes policy.
Beale, S. (2010). The Story of Ewing v. California: Three Strikes Laws and the Limits of the Eighth
Amendment Proportionality Review. Social Science Research Network. Retrieved March 30, 2011 from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1650021
Clark, C.S. (1994, February 4). Prison overcrowding. Will building more prisons cut the crime rate? CQ Researcher, 4(5), 97-120. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/
Haley, J. (2005). Prisons: Current controversies. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.
Richey, W. (2010). California at Supreme Court, Fights Judicial Order on Prison Overcrowding. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved March 28, 2011 from http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2010/1130/California-at-Supreme-Court-fights-judicial-order-on-prison-overcrowding.
Smith, R. (2007). Prison conditions: Overcrowding disease, violence,…
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