Criminological Relationships Between Theory and Policy

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Date Submitted: 11/18/2012 12:48 PM

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Three Strikes and You’re out Law (TSAYO)

The Three Strikes Laws are basically laws that order increased sentences for repeat criminals, this increased sentence is given after three felony crimes have been committed by an offender. Most state and federal laws in the United States require harsher punishment for repeat offenders but they are not as severe as the “Three Strikes and You’re Out” (TSAYO) laws.

TSAYO was passed into law to help protect society from persons that are dangerous and have exhibited a pattern of criminal behavior, to break it down this law simply takes repeat offenders out of the game by putting them in prison and hopefully deter others from committing the same kinds of criminal acts. According to Justice James A. Ardaiz, "Three Strikes was intended to go beyond simply making sentences tougher. The “Three Strikes and you’re out” law was intended to be a focused effort to create a sentencing policy that would use the judicial system to reduce serious and violent crime” (Goodno, N, (2007).

Repeat offenders are considered to be unaffected by imprisonment as a method of modifying behavior and undeterred by the potential prison sentences; therefore longer sentences for repeat violent offenders have a very powerful appeal to the American people. “State legislatures enacting three strikes laws made a deliberate policy choice that individuals who have repeatedly engaged in serious or violent criminal behavior, and whose conduct has not been deterred by more conventional punishment approaches, must be isolated from society to protect the public safety” (Ewing v. California, 2003).

TSAYO Debate

Opponents of this law will argue that it has led to extremely high imprisonment numbers; it will back-up the courts, take sentencing discretion away from judges and it does not uphold the constitutional rights of the Eighth Amendment. Supporters of this law believe that longer sentences would decrease...