Vice Squad
Friday, March 12, 2004
One Strikeout Victim

Crim Law points to this Christian Science Monitor article on the impact of California's Three-Strikes law. Here are the final three paragraphs:

"But to Sue Reams, who 10 years ago voted for the law but now is part of a growing grass-roots movement to amend it, such analysis is simplistic and misses the human element. She's quick to tell her son Shane's story to drive the point home.

In the late 1980s and early '90s, he was a teenager struggling with a drug addiction. To help him, she became a 'tough love' parent. When she realized he'd stolen from her home and her neighbor's, she reported him to the police. As a result, he was convicted of two felonies for burglary. In 1996, two years after the law was passed, he was standing 30 feet away from a friend selling crack. He was arrested and charged with aiding and abetting a $30 sale of cocaine. He and his friend were both convicted. The friend was given a four-year sentence and served two years of it. Shane was given 25 years to life, because it was his third felony.

'I voted for the law. I helped send my son to prison when what he really needed was drug treatment,' says Ms. Reams. 'That's how I feel now, and I intend to get him a second chance.'"

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