When an individual is convicted of a crime, he or she shall be dealt in accordance with the severity of the crime committed. Crime over here includes from petty theft, robbery, sexual molestation, murder, bribery and any other grotesque crime which is association with the above mentioned examples.1990s era witnessed a rapid increase in crime rate in US, which triggered the Federal Government to take stringent measures to curb the criminal offenses. One such measure was the enactment of “Three Strikes Law” across the nation. The roots of this law could be traced back to the most popular game of baseball where the batter or hitter against whom three strikes are recorded “strikes out”.
Deriving the meaning from the game play, this law requires a person guilty of committing a felony and 2 two or more serious convictions to serve a life imprisonment term. The term felony refers to committing any serious crime including residential robbery, kidnapping, sex offenses, and crimes involving explosive devices or attempts to commit any of those offenses. It is believed that with the introduction of such measures, crime rates have declined nationwide. Advocates of severe incarceration policies have claimed that “three strikes” law is responsible for this decline.
Three-strikes law currently exists in nearly 20 different states. It was launched by the father of an 18 year old girl who was murdered by a man in 1992 with an extensive criminal record. Due to the severity of the crime and the increase in crime rate, government introduced this law as an official law later in 1993.California holds the highest record when it comes to the implication of “three-stakes law”, also called as the biggest penal experiment of its kind in modern American history due its differentiated provisions like the widely advertised 25 years of life imprisonment, but also doubling of nominal sentence for many second-strike offenders.
Over the years, this law has faced some serious controversies and criticisms, one of them being that the third strike need not be a conviction for violent or serious felony. Any conviction included even a non-violent crime to be sentenced for 25 years jail. Due to this fault in the law, America became the house of the world largest prisoners even beating Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Later in 2012 , the law was adjusted to declare third strike only if it was a very violent or serious felony.
Relevance of “Three-strikes law” in India
In India, crimes can exist in various forms, which are generally classified on the basis of crime by location and crime over time. Under crime over time, murder rate has increased by 7% as compared to 1953 scenario and kidnapping has increased by 47% and cognizable crimes have increased by 1.5% . Moreover, rape has been declared as the most common crime committed in India.
With the ever increasing crime rates in India and the lenient laws pertaining to the punishment given to such criminals, only add on to more rusty and dusty files in offices with no fair justice given to the victims of these crimes. Criminals roam around with no fear, whereas the victimizer suffers. One such classic example is the Nirbhaya rape case which shook the country to its roots and which still questions the existence of the Constitution that guarantees freedom to safety to its citizens, irrespective of their gender, but fail miserably in implementing.
The Government must realize the need of the hour and must implicate serious action to put a stop end to such crime. In a country where the crime rates increase more than literacy rates, implementation of “Three strikes law” could be a hope for this country where animals are safer than women. As the surveys and data show, most of the times, the criminal is known to the victim and also has a list of crimes committed prior. This law promises to eradicate such criminals who have no fear of law or constitution. Once a rapist has been convicted for 25 years, other criminals will be forced to think 100 times in the second strike stage because next is “knockout”, with no way out for them once the sentence has been declared. Such is the promise of this law, which is fair, unbiased and believes in prompt justice to be delivered for the serious or violent felony committed.
Picture Credits : timedotcom