A crime is a crime is a crime. While many repeat offenders would like to believe that everybody deserves a second, third, fourth, fifth or 10th chance, this is simply not the case.
The United States Supreme Court is now being tested with a “three strikes” law from California that imposes harsher prison sentences on criminals being tried for the third time. Many people are calling the law unfair because of two men serving extended sentences for stealing golf clubs and videotapes.
The “three strikes” law may seem unfair when presented in this manner, but the fact is repeat offenders deserve to be punished more harshly. If they’ve stolen three times and make the effort to steal golf clubs, what is to stop them from stealing again and perhaps taking something more valuable, like a car or a sailboat?
People opposed to the law say that it hasn’t deterred crime in California. Maybe not, but by imposing harsher sentences on criminals, it at least gets them off the street.
The law has also aided in giving judges less autonomy and therefore less lenience when sentencing. While many judges strive to do their jobs well, corruption in the judicial system has led to many wrongful convictions and sentencings.
Third-time offenders are career criminals who will commit a variety of crimes and make their living doing it. These people have bad moral tendencies that can lead to worse offenses than just lifting a few golf clubs. With this in mind, it is perfectly reasonable that multiple offenders are put away for extended periods of time after having already committed offenses.
The law passed in California in 1997 after receiving 71 percent of the vote. The law should at least have a hearing among the residents of California if it is going to be overturned. After all, it was their decision to pass the law; they should have the ability to determine whether they want to take it back, and whether they want career criminals back on the street.