Sometimes, good intentions have unintended consequences. Such is the case with California’s Three Strikes Law. We intended to keep violent, repeat criminals like murderers and molesters off the streets, and that’s worked. But it has also given life sentences to non-violent offenders, for such relatively minor crimes as shoplifting. California has more than four thousand inmates serving 25 years to life for non-violent crimes. To change this overly punitive part of the law, Stanford Law professors crafted the “Three Strikes Reform Act”.
NBC Bay Area supports Three Strikes Reform, so the punishment, the time served, fits the crime. The measure would not change sentences for violent criminals. Voters passed the Three Strikes Law back in 1994. With enough signatures, we can put it back on the ballot in 2012 and correct it.