Signatures Submitted for Three Strikes Reform Measure
Catching up quickly on an important item from last week: backers of an initiative to reform California’s Three Strikes sentencing law have now reportedly submitted enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. If the The Strikes Reform Act were to pass, it would require that third strike life sentences are doled out only for individuals who have “serious” or “violent” third strikes, and that individuals who have non-violent and non-serious third strikes merely receive doubled sentences.
The need for such a reform is apparent when you see enough cases where an individual has committed strike offenses as a youth or a young adult (perhaps something as minor as an assault, which can be a “strike”) and then, decades later, has committed some sort of comparatively minor offense that normally might be worth 16 months in prison. Should such a person really be locked away in prison for the rest of their life? And can California really afford to pay for incarcerating that person?
The November ballot is shaping up to be an important one for criminal justice issues. In addition to voting on the Three Strikes measure, California voters will also have a chance to decide whether to end the state’s incredibly dysfunctional and outrageously expensive system of capital punishment.