In the mid-1990s, policymakers in more than half the states and the federal government responded to escalating crime rates and a series of sensationalized crimes by passing laws that imposed lifetime sentences on repeat offenders. Since then, the Three Strikes and You're Out movement, which embodies the overall get tough with crime approach to criminal sentencing, has generated much controversy. Critics argue that Three Strike laws are disproportionate, costly, and inefficient. Supporters, however, argue that the laws are effective, necessary, and just. Despite the controversy, Three Strike laws are still popular more than a decade after their implementation. Attempts to reduce the scope and/or severity of Three Strike policies have failed and the laws continue to affect thousands of offenders each year. Setting the record straight, Walsh provides a clear, comprehensive overview of the movement and its consequences. Do Three Strikes laws really prevent crime? Do they cost less than releasing repeat offenders time and time again? Are they evenly and fairly applied?
These questions and more are answered in these pages through a careful analysis of the costs, benefits, and results of Three Strikes legislation. Walsh analyzes the historical development of the Three Strikes movement in the context of get tough sentencing reforms and provides detail about the various Three Strikes statutes adopted across the nation, while offering an in-depth exmamination of the controversies they have produced. Amid efforts to repeal or revise such statutes, the laws still stand, and this book sheds light on the history of, rationale for, and results of one of the most controversial criminal justice movements of our time.