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Seeing Two Sides of the Three-Strikes Law

January 10, 2002

In her attack on the three-strikes law ("A Bad Law With No Reforms in Sight," Opinion, Jan. 6), Sasha Abramsky notes that "the dirty little secret of California's three-strikes law is that it has always caught more petty criminals and repeat nuisances in its net than it has murderers, kidnappers and rapists." To which I reply, hallelujah!

Who wants to live in a society where petty criminals and repeat nuisances are on the loose, people who not only committed three (and probably many more) crimes but were also so unrepentant that they continued to commit crimes after being incarcerated twice and so stupid as to be caught and convicted a third time? With these pests and banes of society put away, the police can devote more resources to looking for and arresting the murderers, kidnappers and rapists in our midst.

Richard Showstack

Newport Beach

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What a waste! I am a second-striker out on parole and making it. I spent seven years inside this state's prisons for being convicted of possessing $5 worth of crack cocaine. So I know a little about waste.

Hundreds of men and women walk through prison environments each and every day with only a glimmer of hope, if any, of ever being free because of the life sentences from three-strikes convictions. Their lives are being wasted. Millions of dollars, which could go to schoolbooks and classrooms, go to locking up folks from youths to geriatrics.

But one thing hasn't been wasted regarding this destructive situation, and that is the space your newspaper has devoted to illuminating this horrible darkness that covers California's criminal justice system. Please don't stop. After all, newspapers can be recycled. Wouldn't it be great if our citizenry told our politicians to mirror the value we place on recycling newspapers toward recycling human beings?

Ronald Wilson

Claremont

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