The California Three Strikes law has been in the press a lot lately. Many people have heard about Lucinda Moyers, the woman facing a potential life sentence after being arrested for allegedly breaking into Alex Trebek’s hotel room.

Moyers is 56, has two prior felonies, and is accused of breaking into Alex Trebek’s hotel room, an allegation she had plead not guilty to. Due to her prior felonies, if convicted of this current crime, she could face 25 years to life in prison under the California Three Strikes Law.

Purpose Behind CA Three Strikes Law: Reduce Crime

The Three Strikes Law was intended as a way to get repeat offenders off the streets, stopping them from committing more crimes. If a criminal committed three felonies with some of them being violent felonies, then they would face a minimum of 25 years in prison and could potentially receive life in prison. In theory, it makes sense. If someone repeatedly commits crimes, we don’t really want them in our society.

The problem is that many of the inmates serving time under the Three Strikes law committed nonviolent second or third offenses. They aren't all serial rapists or murderers. Reports also show that this law does not necessarily decrease violent crime rates.

Should Someone Get Life in Prison for a Nonviolent Offense?

The question that Moyer’s case brings up is not a new question, and isn’t even an uncommon one.  The controversial issue arises when a person is convicted of a third strike for a relatively minor offense. For example, say a person is a drug addict who commits a burglary while under the influence. Would it not be better to get this individual treatment for their addiction rather than send them to life in prison? While some states may offer treatment as an option, others do not.

Supporters of Three Strikes laws feel they work as a deterrent and at the same time is a great crime prevention technique. However, are blanket punishment laws useful when individual circumstances may not warrant life in prison?

For more information about the Three Strikes Rule click here.

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