Pubdate: Thu, 25 Nov 1999
Date: 11/25/1999
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Author: George Lippman

I find Deputy District Attorney Kraig St.Pierre's use of statistics
concerning the merits of the "three strikes" law to be misleading
["'Three strikes' law, by the numbers," Letters, Nov.22].

St. Pierre quotes percentages without revealing the magnitude of the
actual numbers. It is the sheer number of people being imprisoned that
indicates the need for study of this misguided law, not the
percentages. Sixty-percent reduction of sentences has still resulted
in more than 4,200 people now serving life sentences, with an
additional 44,000 people at risk with one or two strikes. When
committed by persons with prior criminal records, even non-violent or
relatively trivial misdemeanors are upgraded to felonies.

California has used this law more than 40 times as often as any other
state and more times than all the other states in the Union. If this
isn't "overzealous" then I don't know what is.

Serious questions also have arisen over the administration of this
financially and socially devastating law. It should be everyone's
concern to ask why and to welcome a study.

George Lippman,