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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 171281 Find in a Library
Title: Three-Strikes and You're Out Legislation (From Critical Criminal Justice Issues: Task Force Reports From the American Society of Criminology, P 121-133, 1996, American Society of Criminology, ed.)
Author(s): E E Flynn; T Flanagan; P Greenwood; B Krisberg
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: American Soc of Criminology
Columbus, OH 43212
Sale Source: American Soc of Criminology
1314 Kinnear Road
Columbus, OH 43212
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper critiques three-strikes laws and offers related policy recommendations.
Abstract: Supporters of three-strikes laws believe that such laws not only decrease the cost of victimization through incapacitation, but would also reduce the costs of rearrest and reprocessing of repeat offenders by the criminal justice system. A recent RAND assessment of California's three-strikes legislation points to its potential for reducing serious and violent crime, but at an estimated cost of approximately $5.5 billion over the next 25 years. A second long-term effect on costs will be the unprecedented growth of the elderly in prisons, which will contribute to higher costs because of their health needs. Data that challenge the intent of three-strikes laws include the decline of recidivism with increases in age; and offending at an early age is highly predictive of long criminal careers. Crime control policy should focus on crime prevention and early intervention among youths before they become ensnared in criminal careers. Further, mandatory sentencing cannot take into account all the circumstances that affect individual cases or their various factual permutations. Short-term effects of this legislation include a clogged court system that causes increased court costs and intolerable delays in civil cases, the early release of sentenced felons to make room for three-strikes detainees, and increased discretionary power for prosecutors. The paper's policy recommendations pertain to an impact analysis of three-strikes legislation, informing the public, criminal justice dialog, research needs, alternative sentencing, early intervention and prevention, and regional conferences. 25 notes
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Corrections effectiveness; Three Strikes Laws
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