Letters to the Editor

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PRISONS: ‘3 Strikes’ law needs reform

Letter by Tom Martin, Sumner on Feb. 11, 2011 at 11:50 am with 11 Comments »
February 11, 2011 11:50 am

Good public policy defines a problem and proposes a solution that should solve it, periodically evaluating it and changing it, if needed.

Our “3-Strikes” law has long since reached that point for change. Life sentences are not the solution to our problems. They not only cost the taxpayer over $1 million each but they are a waste of human potential.

Since the majority of those confined under this law are not the most violent criminals for which it was intended, the monies used to incarcerate them should be redirected elsewhere. We need to spend it where it will get the best results.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. “Since the majority of those confined under this law are not the most violent criminals for which it was intended, the monies used to incarcerate them should be redirected elsewhere.”

    Where is your proof?

    (36) “Persistent offender” is an offender who:

    (a)(i) Has been convicted in this state of any felony considered a most serious offense; and

    (ii) Has, before the commission of the offense under (a) of this subsection, been convicted as an offender on at least two separate occasions, whether in this state or elsewhere, of felonies that under the laws of this state would be considered most serious offenses and would be included in the offender score under RCW 9.94A.525; provided that of the two or more previous convictions, at least one conviction must have occurred before the commission of any of the other most serious offenses for which the offender was previously convicted; or

    (b)(i) Has been convicted of: (A) Rape in the first degree, rape of a child in the first degree, child molestation in the first degree, rape in the second degree, rape of a child in the second degree, or indecent liberties by forcible compulsion; (B) any of the following offenses with a finding of sexual motivation: Murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, homicide by abuse, kidnapping in the first degree, kidnapping in the second degree, assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, assault of a child in the first degree, assault of a child in the second degree, or burglary in the first degree; or (C) an attempt to commit any crime listed in this subsection (36)(b)(i); and

    (ii) Has, before the commission of the offense under (b)(i) of this subsection, been convicted as an offender on at least one occasion, whether in this state or elsewhere, of an offense listed in (b)(i) of this subsection or any federal or out-of-state offense or offense under prior Washington law that is comparable to the offenses listed in (b)(i) of this subsection. A conviction for rape of a child in the first degree constitutes a conviction under (b)(i) of this subsection only when the offender was sixteen years of age or older when the offender committed the offense. A conviction for rape of a child in the second degree constitutes a conviction under (b)(i) of this subsection only when the offender was eighteen years of age or older when the offender committed the offense.

  2. pazzo242 says:

    Oh Tom…you obviously know nothing about the 3-strikes law. I don’t this armed robbery, agg assault, rape of any kind, would classify as ”
    the majority of those confined under this law are not the most violent criminals” Once again the rose colored glasses are put on and all you want to see is life through them. 3-strikers are for violent offenders, try reading the law before you spout off and look like an idiot.

    Also you spout off with what shouldn’t happen with no meat as to how to make it right. I know why you did that, because you are another of those bleeding hearts that want to complain without substance.

  3. omega629 says:

    I think it should be 2 strikes and your executed.

  4. pazzo242 says:

    Omega….I like it but don’t think it has much of a chance. As an altenative a huge dugeon in a 200 foot deep hole with no means of light, food or water would be cool.

    I have also thought about placing about 1000 of these 3 strikers on a an old Navy mothball ship that’s 200-300 miles off shore and then let the Navy do torpedo and/or target practice. If they survive the attack, survive the sinking and can make it to shore via the ice cold water then they are free. What do you think?

    I think we have enough mothball ships to go around.

  5. Tom, When the 3 strike law passed the government hoped that the thought of spending the rest of ones life in jail would be enough to keep someone with a felony or two from committing anymore felonies.But it’s obvious those who are in jail because of the 3 strike law has or had no desire to change. Had five (5) time convicted felon Maurice Clemons been left in jail due to the 3 strike law like he should have been, 4 city of Lakewood police officer wouldn’t be memorialized outside the Parkland Forza but instead be patrolling the street of the city of Lakewood. Or had Maurice had killed someone in your family you would be a supporter of the law

  6. NWflyfisher says:

    Tom: You said “They not only cost the taxpayer over $1 million each but they are a waste of human potential.”

    It sounds to me as though the threshold for “waste of human potential” was met by the individual who got themselves their third strike.

  7. harleyrider1 says:

    Tom, I think property and business owners who have been broken into and their valuables taken once, or in some cases, more than once would disagree. You need to have your identity stolen, your car stolen, your house broken into, and your life savings scammed. 4 very non-violent things

    Then I’d like you to embrace your fellow non-violent criminal and invite him to live with you. Write us six months after that and tell us how your social experiment worked.

    Some of us have already been enlightened and want those people in prison.

  8. pazzo242 says:

    Lets all keep in mind that there are many felones that do not qualify for the 3-strikes program–many thefts, fraud, vandalism, and so on. The 3-strikes law was developed for those who commit grievous bodily hard or commit their acts with a weapon, be it knife, club, firearm, etc. So these people who have done these types of acts THREE TIMES are truly the violent offender. So Tom can write whatever he wants and try to make us believe these folks who qualified for the 3-strikes are just misguided but it is obvious he has not researched the law.

  9. everythingalaska says:

    Tom, You have no idea what you are talking about. I deal with these 3 strike criminals all the time. They are useless humans with no value. They hurt everyone around them. It would be best to put them down like rabid dogs.

  10. aislander says:

    IF the writer is correct, and the “majority” subjected to the law are not those for whom it was intended, that sounds like a problem with the application of the law, rather than the law itself. Somehow, I doubt that is even the case.

    I agree that it costs WAY too much to incarcerate a felon and I have a modest proposal, which unlike Swift’s, is not facetious: Let’s have shorter, but much more unpleasant, sentences for the first strikes, and an equally unpleasant life sentence for Three-Strikers. After all, the amenities add to the cost, as do the long sentences. And let’s scare the crap out of juvenile offenders by getting rid of the kid gloves. Pun intended…

  11. Mr. Martin: you are correct. The current situation is not a sound use of public funds.

    Rehabilitation decreases, while incarceration increases recidivism. Proof? Meta-analyses of numerous studies (100 and 101) of the question have been made. Those analyses support the statement and suggest its truth.

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