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Punishment and DemocracyThree Strikes and You're Out in California$
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Franklin E. Zimring, Gordon Hawkins, and Sam Kamin

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195171174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195171174.001.0001

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The Largest Penal Experiment in American History

The Largest Penal Experiment in American History

Two (p.17) The Largest Penal Experiment in American History
Punishment and Democracy

E.Zimring Franklin

Gordon Hawkins

Sam Kamin

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that California's Three Strikes is the most important effort to achieve an abrupt increase in criminal punishments in modern times. Three Strikes legislation in the federal system and most American states was designed to have maximum symbolic impact while not making major changes in case outcomes. The Washington initiative that launched Three Strikes had somewhat larger practical ambitions but was limited in its impact to defendants with three serious felony convictions. The California Three Strikes initiative was designed to use the Three Strikes label and logic to require long-mandatory prison terms for criminal defendants with one prior designated felony conviction and any current felony offense. Its two major innovations are the use of mandatory sentences after a single predicate felony and second- and third-strike sanctions following any subsequent felony conviction.

Keywords:   penal experiment, Three Strikes, criminal justice

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