Op-Ed: Three Strikes Rehabilitation and Reform Act of 2016

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2016 offers an opportunity for us to revisit the controversial Three Strikes Law that has meted out harshly severe and unjust punishment for many for crimes that would ordinarily have received county jail, no jail and/or probation sentences.

 

This law was enacted in 1994 by over-zealous lawmakers who felt the need to promote fear as a response to the Polly Klass rape and murder by repeat offender Richard Allen Davis.

 

I believe that we are a nation of laws, and we need laws that do not cause disproportionate sentencing and counterproductive punishment.

 

We should have just laws that fit the crime rather than the fever and emotions associated with deception by corrupt individuals.

 

I was ensnared by this cruel law because I had possession of a small amount of drugs in my car. I was given 33years to life coupled with a stayed 28 year to life sentence, which was essentially a death sentence at my age.

 

I believe that we as a society must be responsible for our actions, but the Three Strike Law is an overreaction that has inflicted broad irreconcilable harm.

 

However, there is hope because it can be fixed.

 

The Three Strikes Rehabilitation and Reform Act of 2016 is an initiative, which if placed on the upcoming November ballot with 500,000 registered voters signing the petition by April, offers an opportunity to reform and repeal parts of the law.

 

The initiative proposes five changes in the law that address resentencing and savings to taxpayers. By logging on to [email protected], you can read the petition in its entirety.

 

It restores order to a situation in the judicial system that has allowed some politicians to run amuck in their use and abuse of the law.

 

This petition proposes:

 

Convictions prior to 1994 be made ineligible as strikes;

 

Fifty percent good time credits for prisoners who participate in vocational and educational programs, and will make rehabilitation programs available;

 

Amend the Penal Code to include rehabilitation with punishment;

 

Reclassify first-degree burglary and criminal threats offenses;

 

Count multiple offenses in one case as only one strike.

 

I am encouraged that sincere reform is possible when I hear the president and some political leaders from both parties speak out against the unfairness of these laws.

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