Sense and Nonsense about Crime and Drugs by Samuel Walker Essay

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Sense and Nonsense about Crime and Drugs by Samuel Walker

Samuel Walker, author of Sense and Nonsense about Crime
and Drugs, presented us in his book with forty-eight
propositions that dealt with crime, drugs, and our efforts
toward getting rid of these problems. A few of these
propositions informed us on positive actions taking place in
our criminal justice system, but the majority of them told
us what was not working to fight crime and drugs. One of
those propositions that was a negative aspect of our justice
system today in Mr. Walker's eyes was the "three strikes and
you're out" laws (referred to here after as three strikes
laws). He gives numerous reasons why this law is not
considered to be an effective one. This
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The three
strikes law in California stipulates that your first two
"strikes" are acquired when you commit two serious or
violent felonies. However the third strike can be any type
of felony, violent or nonviolent (Schafer, 1999). For this
reason, more and more criminals are being put away,
especially in California, for third strikes that are
nonviolent and relatively small crimes and overcrowding our
prisons at a fast rate.
In 1996, males under the age of twenty-five accounted
for forty-five percent of the individuals arrested for index
crimes (Schafer, 1999). This raises questions for skeptics
of three strikes laws. Why incarcerate offenders for life
when their criminal tendencies statistically drop after a
certain age? These opponents assert that three strikes laws
subject offenders to over-incarceration. This leads to the
next issue concerning money. Burr states in his study
comparing the impact of the three strikes law in California
to the impact in Canada that "over-incarceration does not
serve the interest of justice or the interests of the
taxpayer" (2000: 5). Walker estimates that if California
were to implement the new law to the full extent for the
next twenty-five years, the state would have to pay an extra
$5.5 billion (1998). A significant piece of this estimate
would be funding the incarceration of elderly…