Letters to the Editor

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PRISON: ‘Three-strikes’ laws have gone too far

Letter by Tom Martin, Sumner on Sep. 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm with 7 Comments »
September 13, 2010 3:03 pm

Across our country, thousands of people are behind bars serving extraordinarily long terms for a variety of low-level crimes. This is a result of well-intentioned anti-crime laws that have gone wrong.

Mandatory minimum sentencing laws enacted mainly to target drug crimes have become a mosaic of statutes that all but eliminate judicial discretion, mercy, or even common sense.

Early on, there were signs that mandatory minimums – and especially “three-strikes – had gone too far. Proponents had sold the measure by saying it would keep murderers, rapists and child molesters behind bars where they belong. Politicians saw the harsh sentences and the tough rhetoric as a way of getting votes.

But putting thousand of people behind bars comes at a price – more than a cool million dollars per life sentence here in Washington. That sure is one whole lot of money to spend to incarcerate those convicted of low-level offenses. What could our schools do with all that money??

Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. donjames says:

    “What could our schools do with all that money??”

    LMAO, oh, I dunno’, generate a few more… never mind.

    Why is it when bleeding hearts see money in one rat hole, they reflexively think it should go to another?

  2. Flanagan says:

    What we need in this country are a few good canes and a few good whacks on the back side instead of prison time for a lot of petty crime.

  3. Education is a “rat hole”??!!!???

    Granted, there are many, many things that should be done re Education….but a rat hole?

  4. Concernedfather says:

    Are we to believe that there are inmates doing life in Washington’s prison system for crimes such as littering, jaywalking, or shoplifting?

    Please tell us, Tom Martin, what are all of these “Low Level” crimes you speak of? I am fairly certain that the “Three Strikes” law you referenced only applies to “Violent Crimes”. Were these crimes “Low Level VIOLENCE”?

    I would sure like to see your supporting data, and not just your hug-a-thug additude. By the way, the price you quoted for incarceration is substantialy lower than the price of a single law suit against the tax payers; brought about by the next victim. The math is still in support of incarceration.

  5. donjames says:

    Okay, beerBs, maybe I am being a bit too harsh on our dysfunctional education system. But I’ll stick with the point that it seems libs cannot think of anything better to do with found money than to sink it into education – with minimal returns. It’s a malady akin to how they view every piece of vacant land as potential park material… which is why two of the largest portions of my property tax assessments end up going to schools and parks.

  6. WarmNfuzziOne says:

    Everyone once in a while this guy gets another of his letters published, removing all doubt.

  7. CrazyLibertarian says:

    Just to clarify – Im fairly sure the Three Strikes law does not apply to misdemeanors, only felonies.

    Meaning, there is no one in prison, for life, for jaywalking, or littering.

    Meaning, there are people (and by people I mean career criminals, who cannot or will not rehabilitate) serving successively tougher sentences for consecutive offenses.

    Youre right though. Prison is too expensive. Lets make it a lot cheaper – maybe follow the example of Arpaio, in Maricopa County, AZ? Wouldnt that also save money…..?

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