Proposition 36: Promoting Rehabilitation or Recidivism?

By: Daniel Tjosvold, Law Clerk at the Law Offices of Stephen G. Cline** The Proposition 36 amendment to the “three strikes law” is assuring more hope for criminal defendants in the state of California— that they need not worry about committing small offenses and potentially face a lifetime in prison. Prior to its enactment in 2012, criminals with a history of two prior serious and violent felony convictions had to cope with the fact that just one future non-serious crime could land them back in prison for the rest of their lives. Proposition 36 assures that the “third-strike” must qualify as another serious, violent felony in order to subject these defendants to a lifetime prison sentence. Proposition 36 does not apply to criminals whose prior history involves convictions of rape, murder, or child molestation. In addition, third-strike offenders are still subject to life sentences for non-serious or non-violent sex or…