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Repeat Offenders

            How long should repeat offenders stay in jail or prison? Should we look for life sentences for repeat offenders as a reflection of politicized crime policy. Crime is perceived as one of the biggest problems in the United States. Americans fear for their safety, a fear that is exacerbated by intense, often sensational media coverage of violent crimes. Ironically, many people are afraid of being victimized, even as statistics show that violent crime is declining. Some people seem to think that the 90's laws are too tough. 12-year-old Polly Klaas was abducted from her California home and murdered by a twice-convicted kidnapper who was released on parole after serving half a 16-year prison sentence. Outraged voters approved a ballot measure that said criminals with two serious or violent felonies on their records must serve a 25-year to life term for their next crime. In November 1995, Leandro Andrade, an Army veteran and heroin addict, was arrested leaving a Southern California Kmart with five videotapes valued at $84.70 tucked into his clothes. Two weeks later, Andrade committed a nearly identical theft (Spelman,1988). He took four videotapes of children's stories valued at $68.84 from another Kmart. These are crimes that have been committed time after time by repeat offenders who don't do all of their time in prison or either they are not prosecuted. Because Andrade had two burglary convictions on his record, the petty thefts could be treated as serious felonies under California law ( Spelman,1988).
             Most repeat offenders are murderers, rapist, and DUI's. The first reason is should all states have three strike laws. Second, is should they be punished with far more harsh .
             sentences than they already have (Grosshandler,1990). Third is what is the difference between low risk and high risk offenders.

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