Three Strikes Legislation And Laws Criminology Essay

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Criminal activities are the point of concern for the society. It is commonly into practice to convict the one, who offences in the society (Tyler and Boeckmann, 1997). However, whom to convict, and how, are always the points of consideration. There are always some 'bad elements' in the society and the question stands how to punish them. The approach, thus, demands the implementation of laws in such a manner, that it minimizes the criminal activities; and the society is free from risks. Thus, there are always amendments seen in the laws to get rid against the criminal acts. For an example, there are the particular laws to handle the case of drug crimes (Caulkins et al., 1997). Similarly, there are separate laws designed to handle other criminal activities and punish the culprit.

There can be different ways of punishing the criminals. This can be either in the form of giving an opportunity to the criminal to work out on his wrong deeds and become a good person for the society; or use fear as a measure, to force the criminal not to take any wrong step against society in the future. There has always been the debate over this point for, which of the ways is better one. This is the main reason that there is regular update in the laws and legislations. It encouraged the introduction of the three strikes legislation into practice. The legislation is appreciated at some times, while at the other times, it is offended. This leaves the question into hand whether this law is fruitful for the society or not?

Taking both the positive and negative aspects of the legislation in hand, after thorough understanding of the subject in hand; can help us to come up with some outcomes to decide, whether the legislation can help the society enjoy the peace, or is it just another legislation, which needs further updates.


The governments regularly cover the cost of handing the prisoners. On the other hand, some of the prisoners, who are dangerous to the society; are safe to live. The point of thought here rises to take some effective measures to get rid of the criminal acts. The three strikes law are passed by the US state government, which necessitates courts at state level to handle the people who are convicted for the criminal activities for three or more than three times. The laws have come into picture more during the 1990s in the US. There are separate opinions of the people whether the three strikes law can be helpful for the society. However, the second strike laws can play quite an important role because of more number of sufferers involved in the case (Greenwood et al., 1994).

The three strikes legislation enforces criminals the fear of not repeating their criminal acts for three times, else they have to face the conviction of 25 years. In the year 1994, the first time use of three strikes law took place for approving the imprisonment of culprits for their criminal activities for third time. The law of California had also increased the term for criminals involved in immoral activities for the second time by double. Soon, the murder of Polly of 12 year, in the year 1993; had come into picture. The state government of Washington took the three strikes law into practice in the year 1993. Further, 22 more states of US had adopted the pattern. Thereon, Congress approved the federal in the year 1994. However, the three strikes law limits themselves to the books in around 50% of the states, and federal sentence systems (Clark et al., 1997).

Furthermore, in the year 1999, there came some changes. The Supreme Court asked local courts to handle the case of smaller offences. This happened when the case of a man, aged 25 years, came in front of the Supreme Court for stealing of vitamin bottle. The culprit in this case is the worst affected. The three strikes policy forced law to imprison him for 25 years just because he did the crime for third time.

The three strikes law is merely the approach to minimize the criminal acts taking place all across the country. The concept can act as the cause of increased toughness on client's measure, while for others it is the reason of increased crowd in the prison. The law suggests judge to imprison the convicted person against the 25-year sentence for the third offence, even if it is a minor offence. Someone penalized for third time has no option of parole or probation as announced by Carlson in the year 1998 (Gest, 1999). The new concept had resulted in safeguarding the criminals involved in smaller offences for three or more times, to face the serious imprisonment. Whereas, those involved in serious offences for once or twice, are at a lesser risk. This results in increased crowd in the prisons with no more space to handle the prisoners. There was no space in the prisons, even for the criminals who murdered someone.

The three strikes law does not make tough rules for those involved in serious crimes. The people committing serious crimes are able to survive even after committing big criminal acts. Whereas the criminals involved in smaller offences for three or more times, have to face serious conviction. Even Greenwood et al. (1994) suggested that the three strikes law increases the population of prisoners to double then that without the three strikes law in place. The law only punishes the criminals involved in the crime for three times, no matter to what degree the crime is dangerous to the society. Those involved in serious crimes, are at a lesser risk of severe punishment, while those, who are involved just for small criminal acts, have to suffer a lot.

In the environment of the people to succeed in the life with better economy, it is mandatory to have an eye on the political view on criminal activities taking place (Cavadino & Dignan, 2006). This helps ensure that there lies the awareness of crime taking place at the particular time. Accordingly, there can be amendments in policies at hand.

There is the structure of liberal paternalist nature as per Wacquaint (2008) due to its permissive and liberal nature for the corporations and upper class. The governmental measures thus play an important role in handling the criminal acts in the society. This is the reason that the new laws and regulations introduce into the society continuously. The three strikes policy too was introduced with the same thought in mind to get rid against the criminal risks for the society. The government took new measures for the case. This is the reason the neo liberal government took the shape of the "Buddy state" (Simon, 2001). There are just some of the measures. However, there lies the possibility of introduction of more and more measures in the legislations to fight against the evil present in the society.

Numerous cases are seen, where the dangerous criminals get rid of the convictions just because of their political command, or due to the loosely designed laws and regulations. Similar was the case with one murderer, released of the prison, Mr. Willie Horton after being caught of the assault against man, the rape and stabbing of a woman (Newburn & Jones, 2005). This stands as a good example of how the 'dangerous society elements' get out of the prison due to weaker policies set by legislative authorities.

The three strikes legislation mainly got support due to the higher degree of parents in the grieving status (Dubber, 2006). This is the cause of increased homicides taking place. The unceasing offends taking place in California have left the people like Mike Reynolds, whose daughter aged 18 years was killed by someone who was involved in regular criminal acts. Thus, Reynolds wanted to take serious step against the culprit (Gest, 2001). Another case was with the girl kidnapping took place from her home, after which, the offender was paroled (Zimring et al, 2001). The media worked to raise the point in front of the whole society and the legislation. This enforced the regulatory authorities to take some serious measures against these wrong deeds taking place all around.

The action by Reynolds to implement the three strikes law was so strong in California, that this happened in large without any change (Jones & Newburn, 2006). There was no option left in the society, but to try to lead to a safer and crime free society. The people came up with their comments for justice against the crimes, not because of the realities, or as per the statistics; but on the representation at collective level (Garland, 2000).

Even the media is sometimes responsible for the wrong systems' perception (Sasson, 1995). The media encourages wrong perception in the mind of the people. This leads to the encouragement among people to involve in wrong deeds and increase the chances of crimes.

The people get encouragement due to the thought that no one would convict them for their offences, even after the imprisonment. They would be safe after a short period of punishment. The media reflecting this thought encourages people with the wrong thought, to involve in criminal activities and after all, stand at the safe place. Furthermore, the people do not rely much on the judicial norms, which further leads to the introduction of three strikes law into practice (Tonry, 1999). Thus, the three strikes policy is of risky nature. It may act as the positive parameter for the society, at the same time can act as the problem condition. The people, who are involved in serious offences such as murder or rape, are at the safer end until they do such acts three or more times. However, those involved in small shop robbery, or a fight with someone, are at the risk of imprisonment of 25 years just because they did the crimes for three or more times.

These people are thus at a greater risk of being convicted and suffer the loss. While others with serious offences, enjoy their lives living independent of the punishments. Thus, there should be such norms to punish the culprit using three strikes legislation that there is the weight age to the crime done. This will ensure that the society is free of dangerous criminals.

The people are not at risk against the small felonies taking place in the society, or even the robbery at home. There should be more weight age on the violent crimes taking place in the society. Accordingly, the laws should help the people live with peace. One might involve in the minor felonies, such as robbery at someone's home due to some financial problems. He may realize the mistake and wants to become a good citizen, even after 2-3 times or more. However, as per the three strikes laws, he should be convicted for 25 years, leaving no scope of improvements even after he wants to improve himself. He has not done any violent crime of killing anyone or anything else. On the other hand, someone involved in murder once, is at a lesser risk in the society. Thus, the organization should divide the offenders into two groups, low rate offenders, and high rate offenders (Greenwood et al., 1994).

Furthermore, the three strikes law also increases the population of prisoners in the prison, thus leaving a chance of releasing the serious offenders. This again can act as the risk to the society. The government has to bear the increased cost of handing the prisoners. There is also the backlog in taking an action against the criminal due to long list of criminals in the society, which includes both the kinds of criminals, those involved in serious offences, and those involved in minor felonies. There are also the chances of more number of prosecutions for the criminals.


On taking into consideration both the sides of the three strikes legislation, it is noted that there are both the pros and cons associated with the legislation. It may be or may not be of help to the society. The main question here rises, whether the legislation can be of help to the society or not? This is crucial to know, because the society should be free from any risk and stand at a healthier stand. This will ensure that the people live a safer and healthier life without the fear of any uneven event.

Thus, it is in demand for the society to take serious step against the culprits. The sufferers shall actively participate to take severe step against the criminals, along with the law. The people should actively support the law and legislation to minimize the crimes in their surroundings. The local support can be of great help for the society. This necessitates the use of strict policies, the favor of people for the right and needy person. The people can also encourage the right legislation for the society and encourage the authorities to make use of the policies to fight against the problem situation at hand. This would help the society grow healthier and safer against the wrong deeds

From the above discussion, we can conclude that the concept of three strikes sometimes act as helpful for the society to punish the criminals with serious offenders. Thus, the fear is used as a tool to force the criminals involved in the crime for first or second time, not to repeat the same again. The criminals would fear of the serious conviction in case, found involved in wrong deeds for the third or more time. However, it is true that those who commit dangerous crimes for one or two times are among the beneficiaries as per the legislation. There is no norm to handle these dangerous criminals and take serious step against them to keep the society junk free.

Thus, what demands as of now is to make some amendments in the three strikes legislation in order to make it better to handle the criminal acts. This will ensure that the society stands at the safer end by having the norms to take action against both the criminals for dangerous crimes, and those for just ordinary crimes. This will further ensure that both the kinds of criminals are handled in a separate manner to make the better and healthier society. This can further lead to giving proper punishments to the criminals. Those involved in serious offences are given life sentences, in place of the poor criminals involved in just less lightly offences for three or more times.

There is the need to monitor the cases at local level to help optimize the time of higher legal authorities. It can be important in decision making for the criminals. The states should work along with the local agencies of criminal justice and other officials. This ensures the minimization of cost of handling these criminals as well. Further, the right person has to suffer the lifetime sentence. Others can live their life and try to become a good citizen for the society after committing minor crimes. This could sound good for the people living in the society as a whole and can result in the better and healthier society. The people would be happier and safer in such a society and live with joy and without fear.