The law entails enhancement of sentences by ensuring long imprisonment periods for violent convicts with prior convictions on violent related crimes. From this, three important components of the bill are derived; increased jail term for violent victims who were previously convicted in a court of law with violent crimes (Corrections 312). This law led to two main categories of groups of people who either proposed or opposed its adoption. Proponents were of the view that the law would help ensure community safety as the violent criminals would be jailed for longer periods (Corrections 312). However, those against it claimed that the law would make offenders avoid pleading guilty thereby inhibiting processing of cases while those who happen to plead guilty would end up being in jail for long periods resulting in high populations in prisons (Corrections 312).
A report by the National Justice Policy Institute indicated that the law led to sentencing of about 42,000 people from whom, in a ratio of 1:4, prisoners had a past court conviction on violent related criminal activities (Corrections 313). This means that such individuals served life sentences of not less than 25 years each in prison. In comparison to Georgia’s law and Washington state, this number had significantly increased from about 5,840 and 260 prisoners respectively (Corrections 313).
Also, from the same report, it is indicated that there is an increasing percentage of jailed individuals in Californian prisons who are sentenced under this law (Corrections 313). Just before 1995, about 3.5 of the total prison population in California had either been convicted twice or thrice (Corrections 313). By 2005, the report shows, about 23 % of all violent related convicts had committed the offence either twice or three times although some had been convicted for non-violent crimes. Due to implementation of this bill, these statistics have increased significantly. According to Justice Policy Institute report, the three-strike law led to racism and ethnicity among the Californian communities (Corrections 313). Statistics in the report showed that there was a high rate (about twelve times higher) of Black American three-strike imprisonments as compared to the whites (Corrections 313). Also, the Latinos’ third-strike imprisonment was recorded at about 46 percent higher than third-strike imprisonment for the white American.
Two reports by RAND Corporation and the National Institute of Justice showed that Californian three-strike law has not led to a significant decrease of violent related criminal activities as earlier foreseen by the proponents. Also, the three-strike states have not experienced an increase in rate of long term imprisonment (as the anti-law had argued) rather, it has caused a significant increase in the state’s annual budgetary allocations and general prison sentences (Corrections 313). Basing on facts, as indicated in these reports, three-strike law has caused expenditure of an extra $8 billion on prisons and jails (Corrections 313), a factor that has led to legislative proposals to amend the tree-strikes bill for a possible reduction of crimes considered as violent. Another effect of this law is that three-strikes convicts currently in prison for non-violent related crimes would serve about 143,500 extra years as compared to the time they would have spent in prison when the law had not been passed. Because persons affected by the law are adults (or parents), it was established that up to 46,000 young dependants separated from their parents for as long as they were still serving their jail terms (Corrections 313).
Corrections Issues and Practices. Web. file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/My%20Documents/Downloads/37411721_Q5_1%20(1).pdf