Three-Strikes Laws

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  • A type of mandatory sentencing that targets habitual offenders for long-term incapacitation through imposing lengthy sentences of imprisonment. Borrowing their slogan from the well-known baseball saying “Three strikes, and you're out,” these laws require that offenders who have two prior convictions for violent felony offenses be sentenced to 25 years to life on the third violent felony conviction. Although Washington passed the first three-strikes law in 1993, California's three-strikes law, which was passed in the aftermath of the abduction and murder of Polly Klaas, is the most well-known. Between 1994 and 1996, almost half of the states passed a three-strikes law. Although three-strikes laws are relatively new, habitual-offending statutes are not. Prior criminal record has always been taken into account during sentencing

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