By Laura Robledo
Last week, students across the country discussed the effectiveness of longer prison sentences in our #DoNow3Strikes post. We asked students Do lengthy prison sentences help deter crime? Should voters or legislators be part of determining prison sentences?
In 1994, California focused on reducing crime by passing the Three Strikes Law. This act allowed felons convicted of serious and even non-violent crimes, such as shoplifting, on their third crime to be imprisoned for life. Last year, however, California voters approved Proposition 36, which softened the law by focusing violent offenses. Those against Proposition 36 argue that the Three Strikes Law lowered violent crime in California. Reports however, show that out of the 1, 000 prisoners released under Proposition 36, less than 2% committed new crimes.
Throughout the week, students argued about the pros and cons of long prison sentences, but many of them agreed that the Three Strikes Law is unfair since it has the power to send felons to prison for life for a non-violent crime.
The Time Should Fit the Crime
Many students argued that a felon who shoplifted should not have the same sentence as a person who committed murder.
— marianila (@angiee_nila) November 22, 2013
— Maribel (@maribel_624) November 20, 2013
— Valerie Hart (@ValerieHartMHA) November 21, 2013
Longer Sentences Work
Other students discussed how longer sentences allow the felon to think about his actions.
— Rachel (@Rachel051999) November 21, 2013
— B W (@BW131688) November 20, 2013
Lengthy Sentences Do Not Work
Other students discussed how longer sentences in general do not deter crime from happening in society and cost too much money.
— Haley Lines (@hlinesmha) November 21, 2013
@KQEDedspace sentence. I feel like the length of the sentence should be determined by the laws and the judicial systems.
— Alex Diaz (@TRAPLORDMITA) November 21, 2013
Several students proposed the need for rehabilitation centers to not only stop crime, but also as a place for inmates to transition back into society.
— Lud Sunny (@AHA_lud) November 21, 2013
— KC (@AHA_KC) November 19, 2013
Teach Life Skills
One student discussed how prisons should teach inmates more life skills.
Prisons should offer programs that allow them to gain skills while serving time. Serious crimes, longer sentence@KQEDedspace #DoNow3Strikes
— Mariluz (@mmariluz96) November 20, 2013
Voters vs. Legislators
Students debated about whether or not the voters or the legislators should decide a sentence.
— Levi Billy (@levibilly) November 22, 2013
— Lila (@m_lila17) November 20, 2013