Conference Committee meeting on "Habitual Offender" ("Three Strikes") legislation

Thursday, January 12 at 2:30 pm, 4th Floor Rom 413.  Judiciary  conference committee members meet to reconcile bills which already passed (H3818 and S2080). Senate bill delays parole eligibility.  House bill allows any of 688 felonies, including many non-violent offenses, to count toward the "3 strikes."  See  for details, and points below excerpted from materials prepared by Prisoners’ Legal Services.

The bills as passed in the House and Senate will broadly expand the number
 of people deemed habitual offenders who must serve maximum sentences, and
 will eliminate parole for a large number of these people.

 They will also lengthen the parole supervision period, keeping people under costly surveillance for many additional years.

This legislation will have grave impacts on communities of color, and burden the state's taxpayers with least $75 million in additional costs -- without increasing public safety.  
"Three strikes" bills in
 other states have been proven to be very costly and ineffective.

If the 
legislature chooses to move forward regardless, it is important to:

  • limit the 
number of felonies that would count in the 3 strikes to the most serious of 
  • require that the 3 convictions be from separate incidents;
  • mandate that each offense must have resulted in state prison time.
  • allow a judge to disallow consideration
 of a prior conviction as a strike, as in other states
  • allow consideration of 
mitigating factors necessary for fair and appropriate sentencing
  • make certain habitual offenders sentenced to life imprisonment eligible for parole after serving 25 years
  • remove 
mandatory post-release supervision that would lengthen parole period for 
lifers from 15 to 25 years.
The positive reforms proposed should be adopted:
  • reductions to mandatory minimum sentences
  • narrowing of definition of "school zones" regarding drug selling
  • "earned good time" provisions 
to reduce overcrowding
  • medical parole for aged and dying prisoners.
Call, write or visit your state Representatives and Senators to protest this unjust and expensive legislation; demand only reforms that are fair, humane and cost-effective.