A sample of inmates released during this period was drawn from a list obtained from the Florida Department of Correction, for a total sample of roughly 3,793 offenders. Careful attention was given to securing a representative sample from each offense group. The offenders chosen were released from public and private state prisons after expiration of their sentences. The centralized idea of this study was to determine the differentiation between public and private state prisons focusing on recidivism. I have chosen two cases that reflect on the central issue of this topic and how they are treated by the Courts which can hopefully shed some light on the research problem as it exists in present society. These cases are based on California's legislative system which relate to the problem of recidivism in Florida.
In 1994, California legislators and voters approved a major change in the state's criminal sentencing law, (commonly known as Three Strikes and You're Out). The law was enacted as Chapter 12, Statutes of 1994 by the Legislature and by the electorate in Proposition 184 (Mullin, 1998). As its name suggests, the law requires, among other things, a minimum sentence of 25 years to life for three-time repeat offenders with multiple prior serious or violent felony convictions. The Legislature and voters passed the Three Strikes law after several high profile murders committed by ex-felons raised concern that violent offenders were being released from prison only to commit new, often serious and violent, crimes in the community.
Repeat offenders are perhaps the most difficult of criminal offenders for state
and local criminal justice systems to manage. These offenders are considered unresponsive to incarceration as a means of behavior modification, and undeterred by the prospect of serving time in prison. For this reason, longer sentences for this group of offenders have a strong appeal to policy makers and the public. Supporters of Proposition 184 argued that imposing lengthy sentences on repeat offenders would reduce crime in two ways (Mullin, 1998). First, extended sentences, also referred to as sentence enhancements, would remove repeat felons from society for longer periods of time, thereby restricting their ability to commit additional crimes. Second, the threat of such long sentences would discourage some offenders from committing new crimes (Mullin, 1998).
In March 2000, the defendant Gary Ewing entered a golf shop at the El Segundo Golf Course in Los Angeles County, California. He was caught in the parking lot with three Calloway golf clubs in his pants, which were valued at $399 each, for a total theft of $1197 (Ewing v. California). A jury found the defendant guilty of grand theft. The defendant has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1984, with numerous misdemeanor and felony convictions. In 1993 he was convicted of first-degree robbery and three separate burglary convictions. His record also includes...