Unethical Consequences of the Three Strikes Laws

910 Words4 Pages
THREE STRIKES SENTENCING POLICIES ETHICAL CONCERNS (700 words) Part I (400 words) Unethical Consequences of Three Strikes Laws Zimring (1996) illustrates the inconsistency with which three strikes laws have been applied, producing unjustifiable differences in sentences for individuals with very similar criminal histories. Even more importantly, Zimring's comparison illustrates that the three strikes law in question is typically applied without any objective principle of justice or justification in terms of the acceptable purposes of penal laws. In California and elsewhere, three strikes laws sometimes result in life sentences for individuals whose crimes do not pose sufficient threat to others or to society to justify lifetime incarceration. The principal problem with these three strikes laws is that do not provide the necessary mechanisms or criteria to ensure that they do not produce unintended and unjustifiable results for specific individuals or unintentionally and unjustifiably different sentences for individuals who are guilty of identical conduct, as explained by Zimring (1996). Potential Solutions to the Problem One potential solution to this problem would be to simply change the criteria used for classifying crimes that are eligible to trigger three strikes liability from the very broad criteria of felonies to a more narrow classification linked to the seriousness of the crime. For example, three strikes could be limited only to violent crimes against
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