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Critical Sentencing Issues in Criminal Justice

Respond to a critical sentencing issue in criminal justice. Possible topics for the response include:
- The impact of sentencing guidelines.
- The constitutionality of a guideline sentence.
- The effectiveness of a Three-Strike law.
- The requirement of victim impact statements.
- The imposition/constitutionality of the death penalty

1. Be sure to clearly identify the issue to be addressed in the response.
2. Discuss the goals of sentencing in general, and the different types of sentences.
3. Review the constitutional rights important in criminal sentencing.
4. Discuss the relationship between the topic of the paper and these constitutional rights and considerations.
5. Utilize additional resources (at least two) to complete the assignment such as scholarly articles, books, and other academic sources

1400 word essay with references

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Three Strikes Law

Throughout history, legislation (federal, state, and local) has tried numerous approaches to increase recidivism. In many circumstances, states such as California have imposed laws that impose mandatory punishment for "career criminals." For this reason, there are many who support and defend laws such as California's three strike law. Below we'll define and discuss what the pros and cons of the three strike laws.

The three strike law is defined as a law that requires offenders who have been convicted of criminal offenses on three occasions to be sentenced to life in prison (Marion and Oliver, p.381). The purpose of this law is to punish those habitual offenders without any type of rehabilitation. Just as any other law, there are those that support and oppose it. Supporters often believe that the three strike laws are effective in crime reduction because they keep habitual criminals off the street and deter repeat offenders from committing crimes that would land them in jail for many years (Murphy, 2000). In addition to being used as a deterrence, it's commonly believed as being a fix to a broken judicial system; meaning, this alleviates those repeat offenders from pleading to lesser crimes and being allowed to walk the streets. Those that oppose the three strikes law believe it's nothing more than burden on the tax payer. Because the law doesn't differentiate between felony or misdemeanor and just three criminal convictions, this leads to prison overcrowding and ultimately costing the taxpayer. One of the most controversial arguments is that this law is a direct violation of the Eighth Amendment and is cruel and unusual punishment. Cruel and unusual punishment in the sense that a person that is convicted of petty theft (third offense), receives the same punishment as person who commits murder.

In summary, the three strikes law has sparked political debates on a national front. Depending the side a person takes, the law itself does have positive and negative attributes. Though the law itself is designed to be tough on crime and increase recidivism, violent crimes continue to rise. For example, in California, nearly 75 percent of 2nd strikes and 50 percent of 3rd strikes that are incarcerated are for nonviolent and non-serious offenses (Murphy, 2000).

Marion, N., Oliver, ...

Solution Summary

This solution is comprised of about 1450 words, including four references. The response includes a brief discussion on the following topics: the Three Strike Law, the Death Penalty and Sentencing guidelines.