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Three Strikes Reform Project

Published on: 3/15/2013 1:42 PM
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WHAT IS PROPOSITION 36 - Three Strikes Reform?

  • Prop. 36 restores the original intent of the Three Strikes law by requiring that life sentences be imposed for serious or violent crimes.
  • Repeat offenders who commit minor, non-violent crimes will receive double the ordinary sentence instead of life.
  • Inmates currently serving life sentences for non-serious, non-violent crimes can apply for a new sentence, but the sentence can only be reduced if a judge determines that they are no longer an unreasonable threat to public safety.
  • Those with convictions for rape, murder or child molest will not benefit from Prop. 36. The initiative includes a safety clause that prohibits anyone who has past convictions for very violent crimes from receiving any benefit of the change in law, no matter how minor the defendant’s third strike offense.
  • Prop. 36 does not change the definition of burglary or alter the list of serious or violent crimes. Nor does Prop. 36 have any impact on so-called “second strike” sentences.
  • The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office projects that the Reform Act may save the state over $70-100 million annually.

HOW WILL THE LAW WORK?

  • Two Strikes: If a person has ever been convicted of a serious or violent crime, then any new felony conviction, regardless of type, automatically doubles the sentence (if a felony holds a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 4 years, then it becomes a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 8 years)
  • Three Strikes: If a person has two or more serious or violent felonies on record, then a third serious or violent felony conviction would automatically lead to a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

Per the legislative analyst, "serious" crimes include assault with intent to commit robbery & "Violent" crimes includes murder, sex offenses involving children, armed robbery, and rape.​

WHAT WOULD CHANGE?

Prop 36 would essentially shorten the sentences for third strike offenders
IF THE CRIME IS NOT SERIOUS OR VIOLENT. 
 
So under the new rule, if a person has two or more serious or violent felonies on record, then sentencing for the third strike would depend on the nature of the crime.
 
WHAT ARE THE SPECIFICS?
 
If the third strike...
 
...is a serious or violent crime, then the person will still receive life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
...is a certain sex-, or gun-related crime, then the person will still receive life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
...is a non-serious or nonviolent crime, then the person will receive twice the normal sentence (just like a "second striker").
 
In addition, anyone with even a single conviction involving rape, murder, child molestation, and other particularly heinous crimes will face the stiffer punishment even if the third strike is relatively minor.
Prop 36 would also allow some "third strikers" already facing life in prison to apply for a reduced sentence using the new rules.

Re-sentenced inmates would still be required to serve twice the usual term for their most recent offense.

WANT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PROP. 36?