“Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes Laws”

Rolling Stone. Matt Taibbi, Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Shame of Three Strikes Laws – While Wall Street crooks walk, thousands sit in California prisons for life over crimes as trivial as stealing socks (March 27, 2013)

“This Frankenstein’s monster of a mandatory-sentencing system isn’t just some localized bureaucratic accident, but the legacy of a series of complex political choices we all made as voters decades ago. California’s Three Strikes law has its origins in a terrible event from October 1993, when, in a case that outraged the entire country, a violent felon named Richard Allen Davis kidnapped and murdered an adolescent girl named Polly Klaas. Californians were determined to never again let a repeat offender get the chance to commit such a brutal crime, and so a year later, with the Klaas case still fresh in public memory, the state’s citizens passed Proposition 184 – the Three Strikes law – with an overwhelming 72 percent of the vote. Under the ballot initiative, anyone who had committed two serious felonies would effectively be sentenced to jail for life upon being convicted of a third crime…”

[RESTOFSTORY]

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