Overview

In the mid-1990s, policymakers in more than half the states and the federal government responded to escalating crime rates and a series of sensationalized crimes by passing laws that imposed lifetime sentences on repeat offenders. Since then, the "Three Strikes and You're Out" movement, which embodies the overall "get tough with crime" approach to criminal sentencing, has generated much controversy. Critics argue that Three Strike laws are disproportionate, costly, and inefficient. Supporters, however, argue that...

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Three Strikes Laws

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Overview

In the mid-1990s, policymakers in more than half the states and the federal government responded to escalating crime rates and a series of sensationalized crimes by passing laws that imposed lifetime sentences on repeat offenders. Since then, the "Three Strikes and You're Out" movement, which embodies the overall "get tough with crime" approach to criminal sentencing, has generated much controversy. Critics argue that Three Strike laws are disproportionate, costly, and inefficient. Supporters, however, argue that the laws are effective, necessary, and just. Despite the controversy, Three Strike laws are still popular more than a decade after their implementation. Attempts to reduce the scope and/or severity of Three Strike policies have failed and the laws continue to affect thousands of offenders each year. Setting the record straight, Walsh provides a clear, comprehensive overview of the movement and its consequences.

Do Three Strikes laws really prevent crime? Do they cost less than releasing repeat offenders time and time again? Are they evenly and fairly applied? These questions and more are answered in these pages through a careful analysis of the costs, benefits, and results of Three Strikes legislation. Walsh analyzes the historical development of the Three Strikes movement in the context of "get tough" sentencing reforms and provides detail about the various Three Strikes statutes adopted across the nation, while offering an in-depth exmamination of the controversies they have produced. Amid efforts to repeal or revise such statutes, the laws still stand, and this book sheds light on the history of, rationale for, and results of one of the most controversial criminal justice movements of our time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Walsh discusses the Three Strikes movement as a substantial shift in the way Americans think about crime and the problem of repeat offenders. She traces the get- tough movement that began in the 1960s to the legislation of Three Strikes laws and studies recent attempts to reform those laws. Walsh concludes that, despite a recent decline in crime rates, stiff, get- tough laws are here to stay."

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Reference & Research Book News

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Product Details

Meet the Author

JENNIFER E. WALSH is Associate Professor of Political Science in the Department of History and Political Science at Azusa Pacific University. She has testified before the California State Legislature as an academic expert on Three Strikes sentencing and has been interviewed by print and radio journalists about her findings.

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Table of Contents


Illustrations     ix
Preface     xi
Introduction     xiii
Rising Crime Rates and the Get-Tough Movement     1
The Three Strikes Solution     31
The California Controversy     55
Constitutional Challenges to Three Strikes and You're Out     79
Implementation and Impact of Three Strikes Laws     105
Effectiveness of Three Strikes Laws     129
Attempts to Reform Three Strikes Laws     149
Bibliography     169
Index     181
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