Families Against Three-Strike Laws

Two California three-strikes cases were heard by the Supreme Court last week. Decisions are expected in the spring. One of the cases involves Leonardo Andrade, who received 50 years in jail as a punishment for stealing $153.00 of videos for his children to watch. Andrade has already served seven years for his shoplifting episode and will be 87 before he is due for release.

Families to Amend California's Three-Strikes is an organization out to repeal three-strikes laws, which they call "a shameful and current blot on California history." We are in complete agreement.

Their website is chock full of interesting links and information. For example, check out these 150 horror stories of three-strikes offenders. As the organization points out, "these likely only scratch the surface in demonstrating the injustice of this law. For instance, we do not receive letters from prisoners who are illiterate, cannot read English, many who are mentally disabled, those who have not heard about us, those who have heard about us but choose not to write us, and those who have committed suicide or died in prison."

As an example, take Steven Bell, who is serving 35 years to life for taking a bike out of a garage.

The site also has a serious compilation of reasons to oppose three-strikes laws, culled from the media, court opinions and other resources. Among those you can read about in detail on the site are:

Economic Reasons
Better Alternatives
Applied Disproportionately to Minorities, Poor and Particular Counties
Caused by Counterfactual Fear and Vengeance
3-Strikes Focuses on the Poor, But Ignores Crimes of the Rich
Caused by Politicians who Follow the Mob (or Even Incite It)
Violates Double Jeopardy
Retroactive Application Makes It an Ex-Post Facto Law
Will Result in an Increase in Crime
Will Result in an Increase in Innocent People Being Forced to Plead Guilty
The 3-Strikes law is one of the government's ultimate intrusions into people's freedoms.
The 3-Strikes Law Incorrectly Legitimizes the Use of Violence
Even Before the 3-Strikes Law, The U.S. and California Were Among the Greatest Incarcerators in the World
Caused by Increased Social Construction of Criminals as Evil Monsters
3-Strikes Fallacies

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