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'Three Strikes' Plan for Felons

January 09, 1994

* Regarding the announcement by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown that he hopes to get the "three strikes" crime initiative on June's ballot (Jan. 5):

The majority of California residents live their daily lives in fear of random violence and most of us will never commit a violent crime. Yet, the proposed initiative will give those purveyors of violent crime three felony opportunities before we remove them from society.

The initiative is a nice start and should be supported, but why are we starting with such leniency? What is wrong with demanding of our neighbors and visitors that they refrain from committing just one violent felony, lest they be removed from society forever? The vast majority of our population already upholds this simple gesture of civility, and our lawmakers shouldn't feel it is too much to ask of everyone! There is no excuse for random violence in our society, and our continued tolerance of it is what got us here in the first place.



* In response to "Lawmakers Take Quick Aim at Crime," Jan. 4:

No wonder there is so much crime in Los Angeles and throughout the United States. The so-called law is much too lenient. A convicted criminal should have learned that a violent crime is unforgivable after being incarcerated the first time. If he or she is caught and convicted the second time, he or she should be given life imprisonment without possibility of parole or the death penalty, depending on the circumstances of the crime. If we wait for the third time, it is too late.

When criminals are incarcerated, we have a captive audience to punish and teach these people right from wrong. We cannot give these "animals" a chance to do bodily and/or mental harm a third time.

We cannot pamper the criminal and let innocent people suffer.


North Hills

* Gov. Pete Wilson on crime and prisons (Dec. 30):

Longer sentences! Build more prisons! For people who cost taxpayers $25,000 each for every year served. They get warm, clean beds, food, clothing, TV sets, radios, exercise equipment, etc.

They don't get rehabilitation, education or vocational training.

I think Gov. Wilson is a twit. Just imagine what could be done with creative thinking! Come on, Californians, start writing letters to Sacramento.


Los Angeles

* Maybe John Garamendi and Pete Wilson should rename their crime reform policy "three strikes you're in" rather than "three strikes you're out." If we are to believe Garamendi's characterization of California's prisons as providing more security and privileges for their inmates (Dec. 29) than possessed by most law-abiding Californians, then surely many of us would prefer to be on the inside more so than on the outside.

In fact, if Garamendi takes his own rhetoric seriously, I suggest that he take a therapeutic break from his political campaigning and check into the Los Angeles County jail for one weekend, and bask in the security and privileges which all presumed innocent residents of this resort receive.


Long Beach

* In your article "Laws '94" (Dec. 31), you note that the California Legislature, with Pete Wilson's blessing, has passed laws which would give longer prison sentences to criminals.

Inasmuch as California's prisons are already bursting at the seams due to overcrowding, where, for Pete's sake, do our noble lawmakers plan to incarcerate our ignoble lawbreakers?



* In reply to Deputy Dist. Atty. Walter H. Lewis (letter, Dec. 29):

Under the tenure of left-leaning Gov. Jerry Brown and his anti-death penalty Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird and other liberal court appointees, crime was always in check and most Californians felt a strong degree of personal safety and security. Then, the criminals cowered.

However, in just under 12 years, Republican Govs. George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson appointed and packed the California state courts with judges that overwhelmingly shared their belief on such a basically myopic litmus-test issue as the death penalty. Crime in our state is rampant and rapidly escalating with abatement, or even just containment, nowhere in sight. Today, criminals are emboldened. The law-abiding live in fear.

In my opinion the Democrats and the Republicans have articulated and implemented their anti-crime positions and the scales of justice tilt heavily in favor of the Democrats.



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