Three Strikes Laws
i need a good abstract and a good title about three-strikes sentencing laws. Also can you highlight some power points on this reflection paper.
The fact that the criminal justice system has proven to be a racially unjust system that issues "justice" unequally while targeting historically marginalized groups that have been discriminated against within America is the reality associated with the U.S. criminal justice system. This is also the fact associated with the so-called "Three-Strikes" law, which was initially set up with good intentions but quickly became another tool to use for discrimination against Blacks and Hispanics. The use of this law was initially a response to a violent rape and murder of a young child in California. The offender, was a white male who had previously been convicted of sexually assaulting and raping other people in the past, yet he had been paroled several times. To address this issue, lawmakers decided to pass legislation that would result in three strikes for violent offenders before they would be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Three strikes law in American legislation turned into a very controversy issue in American society and in legislature of separate states as it created an excellent soil for several political speculations on the hand with serious issues in criminology and court practices. Wright, 1998 posited, "between 1993 and 1997, state legislatures across the country passed legislation popularly known as ``three strikes and you're out'' laws" (Wright,1998). These laws appeared at a time when sentencing commissions existed in many states, and the commissions were involved in the legislative debates leading to the votes on three strikes laws.
The key term in this initial legislation, which passed, is violent offenders, as these offenders were thought to be worthy of only three chances before being incarcerated for life and for some, this would occur during the second offense if the first offense was particularly heinous. If the "Three-Strikes" law had stuck to this initial notion of justice, it may would have yielded positive results as it could have served as a potential deterrent to violent offenders.
Unfortunately, the law was quickly circumvented by political forces and diverted toward Black and Hispanic offenders who have been sentenced to life in prison for crimes as small as stealing $25 worth of candy. Under the "hijacked" version of the "Three-Strikes" law, primarily Black and Hispanic offenders could have been convicted of a minor felony assault as a young person wherein they simply pushed someone while stealing their backpack, and subsequently receive life in prison for being charged with "robbery" for stealing compact discs from a record store ten years later. There have been many cases of mostly African American men being sentenced to life in prison for three minor felonies under this law if the first felony was termed a "violent" felony even though these violent felonies were not murder, serious assault, or rape but simple assaults that were charged as felonies.
As I initially stated, racial bias is rampant in the American criminal justice system as it exists throughout each phase of the system from arrest, to prosecution, and eventually sentencing. African Americans are disproportionately arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced because of the history of racism and discrimination that exists in America. This has been exacerbated with the use of three strikes wherein the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution is being violated because of the use of this law by issuing cruel and unusual punishment against these defendants for minor offenses. This is a violation of their constitutional rights and is an affront to the original intent of the law that is being enforced primarily against African American citizens.
The law has been circumvented to include drug offenses as prior strikes, and this only furthers the attack against African Americans who are overrepresented within the so-called "war on drugs", which has witnessed Blacks be targeted to the extent that in America today, one to four young Black males are either incarcerated, on parole, or on probation because of the war on drugs. Because of this sickening reality, the fact that these minor drug offenses, which are the same type of offenses that whites engage in on a larger scale, can result in these individuals receiving life sentences is inhumane and a crime against humanity that violates the U.S. constitution. Unfortunately, the erroneous enforcement of the law has resulted in African American offenders being further victimized by the criminal injustice system in America.
The next important issue that needs to be addressed is predicated upon the fact that the three strikes law clearly does not deter violent criminal behavior. Numerous research studies including those used for this summary have shown that the law has not facilitated a decline a violent crime. In one study that was conducted in the state where the law was first created, out of the Sixteen largest counties in the state of California over a period of 16 years from 1994-2010, the law did not prevent crime in the eight major counties that used the law most while it did result in more violence in these counties at a rate of 2.2 times higher than the eight major counties that used the law the least.
Therefore, counties that used the law sparingly actually had less violent crime in California over the 16-year period of the study than those that used the law most aggressively. This proves that the law doesn't even accomplish its stated objectives of reducing violent crime by serving as a deterrent to those who would engage in this type of behavior. Instead of representing a deterrent, there was no decline in violent crime trends because of the use of Three Strikes in the eight largest California counties that frequently used this wayward law. Instead of declines in violent crime trends, there were worst violent crime trends in these counties than in other counties that refrained from using this unconstitutional and archaic version of Three Strikes.
The "Three Strikes" law reflects a system that has failed to live up to its constitutional obligations wherein instead of serving all citizens, the U.S. criminal justice system targets the same marginalized group that has historically been mistreated and discriminated against in the U.S. The "Three Strikes" law is an affront to the U.S. constitution and only serves to implement draconian sentences against primarily Black defendants wherein it allows these young Black males to be imprisoned for life for minor mostly nonviolent offenses, which is entirely opposite to the original intent of the law. There is no evidence that even supports that the law deters violent crime, but there is much evidence to support that the law racially discriminates against Black offenders who are the group most likely to be sentenced under these cruel and unusual punishments. This is not surprising when taking into consideration the fact that the entire criminal injustice system discriminates against African Americans as a group, which is why allowing a law like "Three Strikes" to further denigrate the notion of "justice" in the U.S. is sad and inhumane.