Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jacqueline B. Helfgott
In the 1990s, “Three-Strikes Laws” (from the baseball phrase, “Three strikes and you're out”) requiring long-term sentences for repeat offenders were enacted in more than half of U.S. states. Proponents of Three-Strikes Laws contend that they reduce crime by deterring and selectively incapacitating the most dangerous and criminally active offenders. Opponents argue that the laws exacerbate racial disparities in sentencing, overburden the courts and correctional institutions, result in disproportionate sentences for nonviolent offenders, do not deter offending, and are infrequently applied to the dangerous and violent offenders for whom they were originally intended. The future of Three-Strikes Laws will depend on appellate court decisions, research and analysis concerning their costs and benefits, and trends in public sentiment and politics. In December 1993, Washington State became the first jurisdiction to enact legislation known as “Three strikes and you're out.” California followed in 1994, and by the late 1990s more than 26 ...