Fiscal and prison overcrowding crises could lead to Three-Strikes reform

By Paul T. Rosynsky, Oakland Tribune – Posted: 07/24/2011 12:00:00 AM PDT From almost the day California’s Three Strikes sentencing law was approved by voters in 1994, opponents have tried and failed to repeal or amend the politically popular measure. Now, huge budget deficits and overcrowded prisons have given opponents of the Three Strikes Law a more attractive argument for why it should be changed: California is broke and can’t afford such an expensive approach to criminal justice anymore. By focusing on the costs of housing long-term prisoners and on the state’s need to reduce its inmate population, opponents said they believe a ballot measure amending the law, promised for 2012, has its best chance of success since Three Strikes was enacted. The dollars-and-cents argument, combined with long-standing arguments that Three Strikes is unfair, could finally be the right mix to beat back a strong lobby that over the years has included politicians fearful of being labeled “soft on crime,” victims advocating for longer sentences and a wealthy prison-guard union, opponents of the law said. A recent survey conducted by the Los Angeles Times found that [Full story: ]

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Fiscal and prison overcrowding crises could lead to Three-Strikes reform

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