Although "3 Strikes" sponsors claim that their purpose is to protect
society from only the most dangerous felons, many of the "3 Strikes"
proposals encompass a broad range of criminal conduct, from rape to
minor assaults. In an open letter to the Washington State voters,
more than 20 current and former prosecutors urged the public to vote
against the "3 Strikes" proposal. To explain why they opposed the
law's passage, they described the following scenario:
"An 18-year old high school senior pushes a classmate down to steal
his Michael Jordan $150 sneakers -- Strike One; he gets out of jail
and shoplifts a jacket from the Bon Marche, pushing aside the clerk
as he runs out of the store -- Strike Two; he gets out of jail,
straightens out, and nine years later gets in a fight in a bar and
intentionally hits someone, breaking his nose -- criminal behavior,
to be sure, but hardly the crime of the century, yet it is Strike
Three. He is sent to prison for the rest of his life."