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UC Riverside professor says three-strikes law is a failure

A UC Riverside professor is calling California's three-strikes law a failure and says it's to blame for overcrowded prisons.

May 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A professor at UC Riverside is calling California's three-strikes law a complete failure.

Dr. Robert Parker claims the law is to blame for overcrowded state prisons and has cost the state billions of dollars.

Under three-strikes, criminals convicted of three or more felonies receive a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life. One of the first strikes must be considered a violent or serious felony, but the third does not have to meet that criteria.

"It ended up imprisoning a lot of people who had maybe one felony, violent felony, early in their life when they were a kid and had pretty much straightened out," said Parker. "Maybe a few minor offenses after that, but because of the law it captured up this whole population."

Parker says a state and nationwide drop in violent crime started in 1992, two years before California implemented the three strikes law.