Monday, November 27th from 6:45 – 9 pm at SEIU Local 2
215 Golden Gate Avenue near Civic Center BART station
Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!
Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue
on all sides of these critically important issues!
The Legacy: Three Strikes and You’re Out:
The Advancement of the Prison Industrial Complex
and Mass Incarceration in California
“Three Strikes and You’re Out”— that’s the no-nonsense message California voters sent to repeat felons when the nation’s toughest sentencing law passed by a landslide in 1994. Designed to keep repeat offenders off the streets, “Three Strikes” won largely because of a frenzied media campaign led by two fathers of murdered children, Mike Reynolds and Marc Klaas. What began as an alliance forged by grief became a bitter rivalry as Klaas and Reynolds found themselves on opposite sides of a controversial battle.
The film tells the story behind the passage of “Three Strikes” and poses profoundly important questions about our political process, the role of the media, and our reliance on prisons to address problems of crime in our society. Written, produced, and directed by Michael J. Moore, the documentary follows an extraordinary sequence of events — from murders to manhunts to win-at-all-cost political campaigns — focusing on two fathers united by tragedy but driven apart by conflicting ideas of social justice.
Through revealing archival news footage and candid interviews with Reynolds, Klaas, and other key players in the battle over “Three Strikes,” including judges, legal analysts, and state officials, The Legacy illuminates both sides of this issue and reveals how criminal justice policy is debated and promoted in today’s media-saturated political climate. Despite the predictions of prison alternative advocates, (who pointed to the state’s already overcrowded prisons, and argued that creating new facilities would plunge California taxpayers deeply into debt for decades to come), politicians on all sides scrambled to climb on board the tough-on-crime bandwagon. The “Three Strikes” victory put California at the forefront of a national trend of prison growth. By June 1998, one in five California inmates were sentenced under Three Strikes. Ninety percent of those sentenced actually had only one prior “strike” and were sentenced for nonviolent crimes in 81% of those cases.
Growing awareness of America’s failed experiment with mass incarceration has prompted changes at the state and federal level; but America maintains its distinction as the world leader in its use of incarceration, including more than 1.3 million people held in state prisons around the country. Since the majority of people in prison are sentenced at the state level rather than the federal level, we must understand the policies and the day-to-day practices that contribute to this statistic.
Two years after it was signed into law, California’s controversial “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law has resulted in an imprisonment rate for African Americans that is more than 13 times that of whites. The underlying motive for this law, with its primary target being black men from 18-24 years old, brings our focus to the systemic racism, and devastation of black communities, practiced in the United States.
“If one were writing a law to deliberately target blacks, one could scarcely have done it more effectively than ‘Three Strikes,’ ” said Vincent Schiraldi, executive director of the Center On Juvenile and Criminal Justice in SF. “It can truly be said that ‘Three Strikes’ is California’s apartheid.”
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