Cruel And Unusual Punishment: The Shame Of Three Strikes Laws

In California, the first state to pass a “three-strike” law mandating long prison sentences for third-time offenders, thousands of people are serving life sentences for non-violent and often trivial crimes. “Have you heard the one about the guy who got life for stealing a slice of pizza? Or the guy who went away forever for lifting a pair of baby shoes? Or the one who got 50 to life for helping himself to five children’s videotapes from Kmart? This Frankenstein’s monster of a mandatory-sentencing system isn’t just some localized bureaucratic accident, but the legacy of a series of complex political choices we all made as voters decades ago” (6,334 words)

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