Aging Out of Crime and the Unexpected Consequences of Tougher Punishments

Did you ever wonder if our youth will ever outgrow the need to commit the crimes that they do? There have been numerous studies that most of our youth do outgrow the need to commit crimes. Usually by the age of 20 years old most juveniles age out of crime (Robert J. Sampson, 2005). For those who do not age out of crime by the second offense, there are severe consequences that our society with higher moral standards, more severe punishments, and the placement of the three-strikes laws place on these individuals. The three-strikes law was installed to stop violent offenders from the continuation of their violent behaviors. In most cases, the three-strikes law works in keeping repeat offenders off the streets and keeps the victims of these crimes safe from further persecution.
Although the three strikes law works it also increases the homicide rates. In many cases the repeat offenders who realize that they will receive the same punishment no matter what the crime decides to increase the crime to suite the punishment that they are inevitable to receive. More than half of the third strike offenders that are in prison today involve neither violent nor serious felonies. Even shoplifting can be escalated to a third strike felony bringing a sentence of life in prison for those with prior convictions of petty theft (Diaz, 2011).
Many felons that realize that they will receive the same punishment for murder as petty theft end up killing their victims and police officers to avoid detection and apprehension (Marano, 2002). In California, the three-strikes laws have been approved to involve youth offenders as well as adults (Egelko, 2010). If two crimes are committed when the offender is a youth those two crimes follow that same youth throughout his life and if he commits a third offense when he becomes an adult he will suffer the consequences of 25 years to life in prison. As our adolescence develop, become more mature, engage in families of their own, and age out of crime there are some unexpected consequences that they may endure as our society holds higher moral standards, more severe punishments, and three-strike laws for repeat offenders. Although there have been studies to prove that many of our juveniles age out of crime there are still severe consequences for those who do not rehabilitate after the first or second offense or do not age out of crime early enough in their lives.

Many of these juveniles and young adults face the consequences of three-strikes laws. The consequence of the three strike law includes serving a severe punishment of 25 years to life in prison no matter what the crime may be.
References:

Diaz, J. (2011, May 8). Crime and Punishment Politics of the Three Strikes Law. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from SFGate. com: http://www. sfgate. com/cgi- bin/article. cgi? f=/c/a/2011/05/08/INN21JB7OD. DTL
Egelko, B. (2010, April 20). High Court: Calif. can apply ‘3 strikes’ law to juveniles. Retrieved April 17, 2012, from CorrectionsOne. om: http://www. correctionsone. com/juvenile- offenders/articles/2050079-High-Court-Calif-can-apply-3-strikes-law-to-juveniles/
Marano, L. (2002, September 16). Study: 3-Strikes Laws Increase Homicides. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from UPI. com: http://www. upi. com/Odd_News/2002/09/16/Study-3-strikes-laws-increase- homicides/UPI-23411032191348
Robert J. Sampson, J. H. (2005, October 25). A Life-Course View of the Development of Crime. Retrieved April 16, 2012, from The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science: http://www. ann. sagepub. com/content/602/1/12

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