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“Striking out” as crime reduction policy: The impact of “three strikes” laws on crime rates in U.S. cities

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Tomislav V. Kovandzzic, John J. Sloan III, & Lynne M. Vieraitis (University of Alabama at Birmingham)

During the 1990s, in response to public dissatisfaction over what were perceived as ineffective crime reduction policies, 25 states and Congress passed three strikes laws, designed to deter criminal offenders by mandating significant sentence enhancements for those with prior convictions. Few large-scale evaluations of the impact of these laws on crime rates, however, have been conducted. This 2006 report finds that, first, that three strikes laws are positively associated with homicide rates in cities in three strikes states and, second, that cities in three strikes states witnessed no significant reduction in crime rates.

Access the full report here.

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