----- Original Message -----
Cc: Cayenne ; 2020
Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2001 11:15 AM
Subject: New York Times on 3 Strikes
 Three Strikes Law -- Habitual Offender Act -- take your pick.  This bad law is on its way down all across the country.  Let each state representative continue bringing this to the forefront.  For example: in California, a study shows that the "Three strikes law has increased the number and severity of sentences for nonviolent offenders - and contributed to the aging of the prison population -- BUT HAS HAD NO SIGNIFICANT EFFECT ON the state's decline in crime."  Even so, California's governor has blocked efforts to change ["soften" is the word they use] this bad law.  Let us all pray about the stupidity of California's governor....and while we are at it, let us all pray about the stupidity of Alabama's governor and every other governor in this land who doesn't have the "cohunes" to do what's right.  Note that New York has no 3-Strikes Law - see the difference... and check out the delta in crime rates. Folks, we The People are not about SOFTENING any law.  This is a trick -- a play on words!  It is designed to maintain public apathy.  It's amazing how subtly [and deadly] effective this has been in the past.  Journalists need to help us but they won't because they lick the hand that feeds them.  Let us wake up on our own then.... Soften? no not "soften"  The people are about getting rid of BAD LAWS!  Laws that make no sense, that serve no purpose.  Laws are ostensibly created for the "protection" of society.  The way "3-Strikes" and "Habitual Offender" laws have been perverted, does not serve society at all, except to cost each citizen a lot of money for nothing.  The original INTENT of these laws was to keep repeating VIOLENT offenders off the streets.  It was never the intent to remove non-violent offenders for the rest of their lives!!!!  The day has come, my friends, when you can get LWOP for stealing a loaf of bread.  Beware and be aware. Well then, this being the case...keep telling your legislators the people want this changed.  The people want "fairness" in sentencing and the people want it now!  You are all doing a great job exposing the truth.  Keep up the good work.  They can't kill us all :-)))  At some point, The Stupidity and Insanity must end.  See article below... Blessings,Sherry Swineywww.patrickcrusade.org
----- Original Message -----
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Sent: Saturday, August 25, 2001 1:04 AM
Subject: New York Times on 3 Strikes


August 23, 2001

3-Strikes Law Is Overrated in California, Study Finds


Seven years after its enactment, California's three-strikes law has increased
the number and severity of sentences for nonviolent offenders â€" and
contributed to the aging of the prison population â€" but has had no
significant effect on the state's decline in crime, said a new study by the
Sentencing Project, a nonprofit research group. The three-strikes law
requires that those convicted of any three felonies be sentenced to 25 years
to life. There is a two-strike provision, as well: those convicted of a
second felony receive a doubled sentence. As of May, the study found,
California had 6,721 prisoners sentenced under the three-strikes law and
43,800 second-strike convictions.

"Crime had been declining for several years prior to the enactment of the
three-strikes law, and what's happening in California is very consistent with
what's been happening nationally, including in states with no three-strikes
law," said Marc Mauer, an author of the Sentencing Project's study, which was
released today. The project has helped to establish alternatives to
incarceration nationwide. "The real impact of the law is a tremendous
distortion of crime-control resources," Mr. Mauer said. "As the
25-year-to-life inmates stack up, California will be housing a
disproportionate share of elderly inmates. We know that 50-year-olds commit
far less crime than 25-year-olds, and every dollar going into housing a 50-
year-old inmate is a dollar not going into dealing with a 16-year-old
beginning to get into trouble." 

Nationally, he said, about half the states have passed some form of
three-strikes legislation. But in most states, only violent felonies are
included, and fewer than 100 people have been sentenced under the laws. The
majority of both second- and third-strike convictions in California are for
property, drug or other nonviolent offenses, the study found. By 2026, the
study estimates, California will have 30,000 inmates serving sentences of 25
years to life at a cost of at least $750 million â€" and more than 80 percent
of them will be 40 or older.

In many cases, the study said, the three-strike convictions amounted to
egregiously disproportionate punishment.For example Scott Benscoter, who had
two felony convictions for residential burglary, was sentenced to 25 years to
life under the three-strikes law for stealing a pair of sneakers. One
homeless Los Angeles man's third strike was trying to jimmy the kitchen door
at a church where the priest had previously given him food. Another man's
third strike was the theft of $20 worth of instant coffee.

A spokesman for Bill Lockyer, the state attorney general, says that while
California's three-strikes law is the broadest in the nation, that breadth
helps to ensure that habitual criminals will be kept off the street. "It's
true that most three-strikes convictions are for nonviolent offenses, and
there's plenty of room for legitimate debate about whether the net in
California is too wide," said Nathan Barankin, the communications director
for Mr. Lockyer. "But no one will argue with the fact that the law does
incapacitate people who have serious or violent habitual criminal records.
And when you take habitual criminals off the street, there's no question that
it has an effect on crime."

Mr. Mauer, however, points out that while California crime dropped 41
percent from 1993 to 1999, New York, with no three-strikes law, showed the
same decline.California's three-strikes law, passed in 1994, was the second
in the nation, after Washington State's the prior year. The California
measure was affirmed on a ballot initiative by a ratio of three to one. At
the time, Gov. Pete Wilson called the law a strong deterrent for potential
offenders and Attorney General Dan Lungren called it the crown jewel of the
state's toughened crime laws. Mr. Lungren then ran on his record in law
enforcement as the Republican candidate for governor in 1998, but was
defeated by Gray Davis, who promised to be tougher on crime than his opponent
â€" and has blocked all efforts to soften the three-strikes law