Few laws have done as much damage to the US criminal justice system as the “three strikes” rule that operates in places such as Chicago. The basic premise of the law is that if someone is convicted more than three times of the same or similar offenses, the judge can aggravate the crime to one that deserves a life sentence or an inordinately long prison sentence. The laws seemed reasonable at their inception because it was hoped that they would help to curtail recidivists and prolific offenders.
In reality, the three strikes rule has meant that the prison system is overcrowded with nonviolent offenders who are serving shockingly long prison sentences. It is indeed possible to have a longer prison sentence for a third offense of drug possession than a first instance of murder. Some legal experts have critiqued the law as being fundamentally unconstitutional because it touches on the privileges granted by the 8th Amendment to US citizens. Besides, the provisions deny defendants the right to a fair trial even when they have lawyers.
Tying the Judges’ Hands