Calif. -- With the new revisions to the "Three Strikes Law" passed by votes in
California, some argue it will send more criminals back on the street and some
Central Coast law enforcement are concerned it will make their job more
difficult to prosecute repeat offenders.
Out of the 4,000
prisoners serving life sentences under the "Three Strikes Law", 2,000 will
receive new sentencing under Prop 36.
"What it does is
affect our ability to successfully prosecute and incarcerate, for long periods
of time, career criminals," Lieutenant Norm Come of the Santa Maria Police. "That
was my understanding, of the intent of the original 'Three Strikes
He says the
revision opens up a number of the other felonies repeat-offenders can commit
without fear of serious prosecution that don't fall under the "violent"
category, which he says will increase the workload on law enforcement.
But supporters of the
revision say it will save taxpayer money and make the punishment fit the crime.
"You hear those
sensational stories where someone steals a pack of cigarettes and they're put
away for a 'Three Strikes Law' violation but what you don't hear is what they
did several years in the past," says Come.
"Somebody who is
truly attempting to turn their life around would not get caught in a felony
violation, no matter what the violation."
Supporters say after
the law's enactment in 1994, crime declined significantly in California. Between
2000 and 2005, they say violent crime went down more than 17 percent.
Many supporters say
due to the severe sentencing measures like 'Three Strikes', California's prison
population has exploded in the past few decades and they believe these
punishments are excessive and inhumane.
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