As costs in both the prison budget and the rest of California’s budget spiral upward, the never-ending challenge is to find less expensive ways to get the same or better quality service out of California’s government. One possible solution is ending California’s Three Strikes policy.
In a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, Peter Mandel, a second-year law student, relates the story of Mark, who has been serving 14 years for shoplifting. As Mandel explains, “Had this been [Mark’s] first crime, his maximum penalty would have been $1,000 and six months in jail.
Instead, because Mark had committed two burglaries a dozen years earlier, when he was 19 years old, he may be in prison for life.” This hardly seems fair to Mark, or like an efficient use of scarce state resources.