California’s “Three Strikes” law was created to lock the most serious violent offenders away for life. Unfortunately, many non-violent offenders got caught up in the law. On June 15, 2011 Reentry Central reported that Stanford University’s Three Strikes Clinic was working not only to free non-violent offenders, but to provide information to the public on why the law should be changed. A referendum will be on the ballot in California in November.
The Clinic reported that in 2004, almost half of those imprisoned under the “Three Strikes Law” did not commit a violent or serious offense. The article quoted Mercury News as reporting that people have received life sentences for “stealing a pair of socks, attempting to break into a soup kitchen to get something to eat and for forging a $146 check…” Many other inmates sentenced under the Three Strikes Law are addicts charged with drug possession. The Huff Post reports studies that show addiction is a brain disease and suggests early detection can help with prevention.