Masters Thesis

A Policy analysis of California's Proposition 36 Program: Three Strikes Reform Act

California's Three Strikes law was approved by many states in the beginning of the late 1970s, and is known as one of the most striking examples of the increase of mandatory sentencing policies. While supporters and opponents predicted that the law would have intense effects on cumulative punishment trends and individual case outcomes, an analysis of previous sentencing reforms suggested the law's impact would be mainly symbolic because local officials would ignore, undermine, or abolish its major requirements. Since the Three Strikes Law passed, sentences have become harsher, particularly in politically conservative counties. Proposition 36 has been one of the most notorious debates since the passing of the Three Strikes Law in 1994. This policy analysis will focus on the process of how and why Proposition 36 passed; statements from supporters and opponents for the proposition; and data from newspaper editorials and articles. It will also focus on specific terms used throughout the discussion and about voting procedure of Proposition 36; funding for Proposition 36; the background and success rate of the proposition; and how effective Proposition 36 has been.

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