Readers Digest on Three Strikes: Is the Tide Turning?

Readers Digest, a predictably conservative publication for decades, may be changing its stripes on at least one issue: Three Strikes Laws. This article, Why Three Strikes Laws Don't Work, appears at page 152 of the October issue.

Convinced that too many judges were going easy on violent recidivists, Congress enacted federal "mandatory minimum" sentences two decades ago, mainly targeting drug crimes. Throughout the 1990s, state legislatures and Congress kept upping the ante, passing new mandatory minimums, including "three strikes and you're out" laws. The upshot was a mosaic of sentencing statues that all but eliminated judicial discretion, mercy, or even common sense.

Now we are living with the fallout.

The magazine also has reader comments on the article, asking the question:

Critics of the three strikes law tell stories about non-violent, petty robbers receiving the same jail sentences as murderers. Proponents cite decreased crime rates and safer streets. Do you think that this controversial public policy is a well-intentioned law gone wrong or a much needed punishment to keep crime down?

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    Re: Readers Digest on Three Strikes: Is the Tide T (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:20 PM EST
    Novak reports on Republican Bushbashing in Aspen. As the tides turn, the repugs try to save face. Novak via robot wisdom

    Re: Readers Digest on Three Strikes: Is the Tide T (none / 0) (#2)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:24 PM EST
    The tide will never turn. Every wrong winger from DC to San Fran will scream that being tougher on crime is the answer, and get all frothy at the mouth with both anger and general partisan loyalty at the prospect of "being soft on crime". They will rant and rave and point their fingers at one liberal or another and accuse them of wanting to let murderers commit more than three murders.