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lord patch
04-14-2007, 11:27 AM
National News
Three Strikes rally calls for reform
By Charlene Muhammad
Staff Writer
Updated Apr 13, 2007, 07:12 pm

* Families to Amend California's Three Strikes
http://www.facts1.com/

SACRAMENTO (FinalCall.com) - Hundreds of people rallied at the
California State Capitol Mar. 28 for "Beyond Prisons Day" to
commemorate the 13th anniversary of the Three Strikes law and to
generate support for its reform.

California voters approved the "Three Strikes and You're Out"
initiative in 1994, hoping it would help eradicate violent crime by
enhancing sentencing for persons convicted of a third serious or
violent felony.

The demonstrators raised questions of unfairness and fiscal
responsibility related to the edict, and presented Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger with a solution to the overcrowding of prisons by
releasing non-violent offenders.

The protestors included four busloads from Southern California and
approximately 100 members of Families to Amend California's Three
Strikes (FACTS), the Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) and more than 200
"Striker" loved ones from San Diego, Orange County, the Inland Empire
and Victorville, organizers informed.

The event, convened on the Capitol's West Steps, also served to
address inadequate prisoner healthcare and analyze what impact Three
Strikes has had on violence and crime.

To help make their point, Ms. Silva informed, mothers, wives and loved
ones of Strikers carried posters displaying their photos. There were
also three nine-by-eight walls of Strikers, each citing the reasons
for their life sentences—a few of them shoplifting, drug possession
and attempted burglary of vacant dwelling.

Under the Three Strikes law, serious and violent offenses include
murder or voluntary manslaughter; mayhem; and rape (where it is
accomplished against a person's will by means of force, violence,
duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the
person or another). The Full Disclosure Network reports that,
according to Bill Jones, former California Assemblyman and author of
the Three Strikes law, its success can be measured by the 50 percent
drop in crime since it was enacted; the exodus of Parolees to other
states; the billions of dollars saved by deterring crime; the
reduction in projected prison population and the elimination of plea
bargaining.

Three Strikes reformers disagree. "It's been 13 years since the
passage of Three Strikes and prisons are filled to almost 200 percent
capacity, and one prisoner dies very week for lack of medical
attention," stated Geri Silva, Executive Director of FACTS.

Ms. Silva continued, "For those who don't consider the human suffering
behind the stats, consider this: 24,730 non-violent Strikers serving
10-, 15- and the outrageous 25-to-life terms costing taxpayers
$1,070,314,400.00 per year—over one billion dollars that could be used
to educate, provide healthcare, drug treatment, build housing, provide
jobs, job training, enrich the lives of many thousands of people and
hundreds of communities. Everyone loses except those who profit from
'crime control.'"

Three Strikes reformers lost their ballot initiative (Proposition 66)
to Amend the Three Strikes Law to target violent/serious felonies
only, but vowed to continue the fight.


2007 FCN Publishing, FinalCall.com
http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_3382.shtml