Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

`Three Strikes': A Step Closer to Absurdity

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

`Three Strikes': A Step Closer to Absurdity

Article excerpt

Regarding " `Three Strikes': a Step Closer to Zero Tolerance of Crime," May 2: The "three strikes" legislation became law in California on March 8, so I wonder why the author is still trying to justify his regressive, Draconian philosophy.

"Zero tolerance" is what is practiced in nondemocratic, totalitarian societies. I will not condone burglary, but I cannot accept communist China's answer of a bullet to the back of the head.

The author implies that if a high school student already has two felonies, he or she should be imprisoned for at least 25 years to life. But a little time and money could provide him with the example of a mentor-counselor, a job, and a chance to further his education or learn a trade. The alternative is to spend at least $625,000 on him over the next 25 years so that he can learn from his new role models at our steel university of crime.

As youthful violent crime continues to increase despite the politicians' prison construction program, perhaps more of us will see that pruning an unwanted branch is not the solution to the problem lying deep within the root. Patrick T. O'Connell Represa, Calif. California State Prison at Folsom

The author of the opinion-page article says that we should not consider some crimes "more tolerable than others," and so favors targeting "three strikes" laws broadly rather than narrowly. But he, like almost everyone, has probably committed such crimes as speeding, jaywalking, and illegal parking. That makes him a criminal. I say, three strikes and he's out. Jeff Johnson San Francisco No return of single-income family

Although Richard Hokenson offers an interesting theory about why the labor force participation rates of young women have been wobbling since the late 1980s, his theory is unlikely to be accurate ("Young Women Exercise Options," May 24).

If, as he argues, the zigzagging labor force participation rates for women ages 20 to 24 is due to a return to the single-income family, one would expect this change to have affected only married women in this age group. …

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