Introduction: The Three-Strikes Law and the Controversy around It
Despite numerous attempts to address the issue of violent crimes, the current statistics indicate that the subject matter remains a significant problem that needs to be addressed accordingly. According to recent statistics, 1,163,146 attempted violent crimes were committed in 2013 (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2014). Therefore, even though the issue is currently being addressed with numerous programs and strategies, the rates of violent crimes remain consistently high. The adoption of the measures that will compel people to abide by the law and avoid violent crimes must be considered a necessity. Since no other measures have proven efficient so far, and there are no alternatives available, the Three-Strikes law will have to be enacted statewide so that the rates of violent crimes could be controlled by using a more rigid set of regulations and, therefore, introducing the target population to the concept of self-regulation.
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Benefits of the Three-Strikes Law: Why the Regulation Should Be Enabled
Contributing to a Drop in the Number of Violent Crimes
Studies show that the enhancement of the Three-Strikes law leads to a massive reduction in the number of violent crimes in a given area (Hansen & Waddell, 2014). The observed phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that harsher penalties compel criminals and potential lawbreakers to choose other avenues apart from violent rule-breaking to avoid receiving harsh punishment (Long, 2015). For instance, a recent study by Sutton (2015) indicates that the reinforcement of the Three-Strikes Law as the primary regulation defining the process of sentencing felons causes an impressive reduction in the number of felonies. The identified phenomenon can be explained by the fact that the first strike serves as a powerful fear factor for criminals; as a result, they refrain from committing felonies willingly (Malhotra, 2016). Therefore, statistically, the application of the Three-Strikes Law is bound to have a significant positive effect on the safety levels in a community.
Reducing the Ability of Offenders to Commit Crimes
The Three-Strikes Law is also likely to limit the number of opportunities for criminals to engage in violent activities. For instance, in the scenarios that involve repeated offenses, the regulation removes the immediate threat to society. As soon as the third felony is committed, criminals are imprisoned for at least 25 years, which can be deemed as a fairly long period. The identified measure might seem harsh, yet it provides the rest of the society with a sharp rise in the levels of safety, whereas criminals are given a chance to rehabilitate themselves.
One might claim that removing a threat to the well-being of the members of a community even for a long period does not make the danger any less. If anything, harsher punishments may lead to criminals becoming even more ruthless in their willingness to take revenge. However, the specified negative outcome can be avoided by introducing rehabilitation programs that will help change the set of values that offenders follow. Consequently, the cases of outbursts of violence among the prisoners that have been released can be managed accordingly. The programs, in turn, will have to include powerful tools for engaging participants so that they could strive to become decent community members. For this purpose, the principles of transformational leadership should be used (Malhotra, 2016).
Warning Offenders about the Consequences of Breaking the Law
The application of the Three-Strikes Law also encourages potential criminals to consider the effects of breaking the law. While the existing regulations with the flexibility that they provide may seem lacking efficiency as far as the prevention of crimes is concerned, the Three-Strikes regulation, in turn, will offer a rather graphic example of the effects of in compliance with the law. Particularly, the weight of the punishment that the Three-Strikes Law will ensue will be made obvious to the target demographics. As a result, a rapid drop in the rates of violent crimes, as well as a steep growth in law abidance rates, is expected.
One must admit that, like many other regulations that encourage radical changes in the contemporary legal environment, the Three-Strikes law may invite numerous opportunities for local authorities to abuse their rights. Indeed, as a recent article by Sutton (2015) indicates, in California, the adoption of the Three-Strikes Law coexists with a rather loose definition of the type of crimes to which the third felony committed by an alleged criminal. As a result, Californian courts may bend the legal standard by convicting a person without a due reason: “the California law defined ‘strike able’ offenses expansively, including with the usual list of violent felonies a set of ‘serious’ but nonviolent felonies such as selling drugs to minors, burglary, and weapons possession” (Sutton, 2015, p. 38). Therefore, a set of rigid standards for determining and classifying the types of crimes that are used to determine the record of a criminal should be designed and adhered to closely.
Conclusion: The Three-Strikes Law as the Ultimate Tool for Preventing Violent Crimes
The Three-Strikes Law is bound to become the symbol of failing to meet the current legal standards, as well as a graphic example of the consequences of toa felony. Therefore, the adoption of the identified regulation must be viewed as a necessity across the United States. The resulting drop in the instances of violent crimes is likely to be more than impressive.
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Furthermore, one must bear in mind that the Three-Strikes Law may serve as the basis for building a more responsible attitude toward meeting legal standards among the vulnerable population, including people from poor economic and social backgrounds, people with criminal past, etc. Thus, one will be able to not simply punish and ostracize the identified members of the society but, instead, lend them a hand so that they could reconsider their current set of values and adopt the one that will allow them to coexist with the rest of the members of the contemporary society.
Therefore, the reconsideration of the current legal system and the introduction of the Three-Strikes Law into the modern justice system should be viewed as an essential step toward promoting safety among community members. The enhancement of the Three-Strikes Law must be viewed as a necessity so that the number of violent crimes could be reduced. Furthermore, a change in the system of values that are currently utilized by the target members of the community, i.e., people that may develop a propensity toward criminal activities, should take place. While altering the society so that crimes could become obsolete does not seem to be a possibility, there is a chance that the incorporation of the Three-Strikes regulation will contribute to the development of a new value system and the reconsideration of the current one. Thus, violent crimes can be avoided.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2014). Violent crime. Web.
Hansen, B., & Waddell, G. R. (2014). Walk like a man: Do juvenile offenders respond to being tried as adults? Eugene, OR: University of Oregon Press.
Long, W. (2015). Does longer incarceration deter or incapacitate crimes? New evidence from truth-in-sentencing. New Orleans, LO: Tulane University Press.
Malhotra, U. (2016). The great shift: Analyzing the effect of public safety realignment on crime in California between 2009-2013. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Sutton, J. R. (2015). Symbol and substance: Effects of California’s Three Strikes Law on felony sentencing. Law and Society Review, 47(1), 37-72.