What Are the Pros and Cons of the Three Strikes Law?

The pros of a three strikes law include harsher punishments for career criminals and better piece of mind for citizens, while the cons of the three strikes law include overcrowding prison systems and higher costs for prisons and courts. The law was introduced in California in the 1990s, but since then 23 states have adopted the law that places third-time offenders in prison for 25 years to life and federal government has even made connection with the law.

The three strikes law offers harsh punishments for career criminals and reduces the crime rate due to those punishments. The law is used as a preventive measure to alter the habits of a career criminal and create a better focus for police officers to do their jobs, as well as better peace of mind for citizens due to the lowered crime rate.

With so many criminals behind bars for 25 years to life, the cost to the courts and the prison system increases by up to 50 percent. The prisons become overcrowded which could lead to the release of other criminals not on the three strike rule. With higher costs to the court systems and prisons, there would likely be cuts to law enforcement officials, leaving less police officers on the street. The largest negative of the three strikes law is that is does not exempt certain crimes, meaning a shoplifter could potentially live the rest of their life in prison next to a murderer or rapist.