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Three Strikes Laws (Historical Guides to Controversial Issues in America) [Hardcover]

Jennifer E. Walsh

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Book Description

January 30, 2007 031333708X 978-0313337086 annotated edition

In the mid-1990s, policymakers in more than half the states and the federal government responded to escalating crime rates and a series of sensationalized crimes by passing laws that imposed lifetime sentences on repeat offenders. Since then, the Three Strikes and You're Out movement, which embodies the overall get tough with crime approach to criminal sentencing, has generated much controversy. Critics argue that Three Strike laws are disproportionate, costly, and inefficient. Supporters, however, argue that the laws are effective, necessary, and just. Despite the controversy, Three Strike laws are still popular more than a decade after their implementation. Attempts to reduce the scope and/or severity of Three Strike policies have failed and the laws continue to affect thousands of offenders each year. Setting the record straight, Walsh provides a clear, comprehensive overview of the movement and its consequences.

Do Three Strikes laws really prevent crime? Do they cost less than releasing repeat offenders time and time again? Are they evenly and fairly applied? These questions and more are answered in these pages through a careful analysis of the costs, benefits, and results of Three Strikes legislation. Walsh analyzes the historical development of the Three Strikes movement in the context of get tough sentencing reforms and provides detail about the various Three Strikes statutes adopted across the nation, while offering an in-depth exmamination of the controversies they have produced. Amid efforts to repeal or revise such statutes, the laws still stand, and this book sheds light on the history of, rationale for, and results of one of the most controversial criminal justice movements of our time.

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Three Strikes Laws (Historical Guides to Controversial Issues in America) + Punishment and Democracy: Three Strikes and You're Out in California (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)
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Editorial Reviews


"Walsh discusses the Three Strikes movement as a substantial shift in the way Americans think about crime and the problem of repeat offenders. She traces the get- tough movement that began in the 1960s to the legislation of Three Strikes laws and studies recent attempts to reform those laws. Walsh concludes that, despite a recent decline in crime rates, stiff, get- tough laws are here to stay."


Reference & Research Book News


"Amidst all the rhetoric and hyperbole about three-strikes laws, Professor Walsh's balanced and thoughtful treatment is sorely needed. With great care she covers the get tough movement that led to this innovation in sentencing, the constitutional challenges that three-strikes laws have survived, and the continuing controversies over their implementation and effectiveness."


Joseph M. Bessette, Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics, at Claremont McKenna College


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