Itís not being soft on crime if you want the prisons not to be overcrowded and corrections officials not to be overworked. Itís good policy. I donít believe in most mandatory sentencing laws, and I donít believe in most limitations on judicial discretion. Each case a judge hears is different, and each defendant is an individual. I hate the ďthree strikesĒ law because it has unnecessarily choked the courts and prisons.
There. Go ahead and call me soft on crime. Iím voting an enthusiastic ďyesĒ on Proposition 66 on the California ballot, because it would redefine the felonies that are considered serious enough to warrant ďthree strikesĒ sentencing.
I didnít even have to read the ballot arguments in the voter pamphlet to come to this decision. All I had to read was the measure itself. If anything, it doesnít go far enough in restoring the kind of compassionate, effective court system we tossed into the cement mixer when the ďthree strikesĒ law was passed ten years ago.
That law has given us ten years of people getting harsher sentence than their crimes merit. The monetary cost alone is staggering, and the cost in human productivity is just as damaging. Even without these considerations, though, the fact that itís an ineffective deterrent is reason enough to vote yes on 66.