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

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