Josh Farley writes:
Shirley White of Port Townsend wrote us a letter to the editor that criticizes the state’s three strikes law.
She says a friend of hers had 3 second-degree robbery convictions that earned her a lifelong stay in prison. White says voters didn’t approve second-degree robbery as a “strike” offense, but that it was added later.
Here’s the letter in its entirety. Decide for yourself:
My Friend Didn’t Deserve to Die in Prison
The “Three Strikes” law that voters passed in 1993 did not include second-degree robbery on its original list. It was added later.
Plus, in 2003, the Justice Policy Institute showed that after 10 years, non-strike states realized a greater reduction in violent crime than states that had three strikes laws.
Most states that adopted this law changed their mandatory sentences or reformed their parole policies. Isn’t it time that Washington reforms this harsh law? Imposing a sentence of life without parole for shoplifters and petty drug offenders is illogical, inhumane and incredibly wasteful.
My very good friend passed away July 4th. She was incarcerated as a “three-striker.” To support a drug habit, she committed three second-degree robberies.
She never actually used a weapon and there were never any injuries. Her total “take” amounted to about $900 — and for this she was spending life in prison. She had completed eight years of her sentence when she died. Clean and sober for eight years, she chose not to ever use again, and didn’t belong in that prison.
People can and do change. My friend, a very kind, beautiful, and caring person, is a perfect example of the injustice of our three strikes law. She deserved a better chance … as do many others.