Sample Criminal Justice Essay on The Three Strikes Law

The Three Strikes Law

The overall rationale underlying the three strikes law

The three strikes law is generally referred to as proposition 184; it was created by the voters in 1994 (The Secretary of state, 2015). The criminal law proposed long prison terms for specific repeat criminals. This law demands that an individual convicted of a felony or violent crimes before, be sentenced in accordance with the guidelines below (Couzens & Bigelow, 2015).

If an individual has committed one previous serious or violent crime, their sentence is twice the term that is stipulated by the law. The people who are sentenced by using these provisions are referred to as the second strikers (The Secretary of state, 2015). If one is convicted for two or even more violent convictions, they are sentenced to life imprisonment. These individuals can only apply for parole after twenty five years. The criminals convicted using the above specifications are called third strikers (The Secretary of state, 2015). Despite the fact that the law demands sentencing of offenders as stated above, in special cases, the court opts not to dwell on the previous crimes when sentencing.

When this happens, the individuals who could have been sentenced as second or third strikers are sentenced to a less period that needed by law (The Secretary of state, 2015). Under current laws, many second strikers can be set free from prison after they complete their sentence; third strikers are only set free when the state board approves the parole hearings (The Secretary of state, 2015).

The second and third strikers must be monitored by the community when they are set free from detention (Couzens & Bigelow, 2015). If a second striker current conviction is for a less serious crime, they are monitored in the community by the county probation officers. The third strikers must be monitored by state parole agents (The Secretary of state, 2015).

Amendment of the three strikes law since its creation

Since its creation in 1994, this law has remained unchanged for eighteen years (Couzens & Bigelow, 2015). However, this changed during November 6, 2012 when voters passed the proposition 36 that amended this law (Couzens & Bigelow, 2015). The proposition has two provisions, in the first provision; the principles used for sentencing third strikers were replaced. The original version demanded that the law be applied to any felony that takes prior with two or more previous strikes (The Secretary of state, 2015). The present law demands the felony to have a higher magnitude and be violent in its nature with two or even more prior strikes, this way the convicted person qualifies for twenty five year- to- life sentence as third strike offender (Couzens & Bigelow, 2015).

The 2nd primary replacement that was implemented by using proposition 36 was the creation of a method through which the defendants who are under a third strike sentence may be able to petition their case to be reduced to a second strike sentence (Couzens & Bigelow, 2015). The tenth section of proposition 36 specifies that the provisions would become effective on the first day after the enactment by the voters accordingly the initiative became fully effective on November, 7, 2012. The new laws will apply to all crimes committed before and after the enactment date (The Secretary of state, 2015).


Couzens, R., & Bigelow, T. A. (2015). The Ammendment of the Three Strikes Sentencing Laws. California: Barrister Press.

The Secretary of state. (2015). Three Strikes Law.Repeat Felong Offenders, Penalties.Initiative Statute. Proposition 36 . California, U.S: Secretary of State of California.