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Still Striking Out: Ten Years of California’s Three Strikes

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In Category : Criminal Justice Reform, Long Prison Terms, Place Based Reform, Racial Equity

While other states passed habitual offender laws in the early-to-mid-nineties, California’s “Three Strikes” law was much more punitive—and far-reaching—in a number of respects. While other states’ “Three Strikes” laws only applied to serious or violent offenses, California’s required sentences to be doubled for any felony, if the offender had one prior serious or violent felony conviction on their record, or a 25-year-to-life sentence for any felony if the offender had two prior serious or violent felony convictions. In addition, persons convicted under the law were not eligible for parole until they served 80 percent of their sentence, while many other prisoners could be paroled after serving 50 percent of their time.

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