Senator Lindsey Graham criticizes “Three Strikes” law, talking latest prison reform bill

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Three Strikes, a third serious or violent felony in California, resulting in 25 years to life.

It’s a state law, proposed by Fresno man Mike Reynolds, whose daughter was shot and killed in the Tower District by a repeat offender in 1992.

In ’94, former president Bill Clinton signed the “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act” into law, also containing a “three strikes, you’re out,” federal provision.

“We did Three Strikes and all these other things, so we increased the number of people that were getting prosecuted,” Criminal Defense Attorney David Mugridge said. “We increased the number of people in our prisons, now we’re out of room.”

Last week, President Donald Trump supporting the First Step Act, which some say would be the most sweeping criminal justice reform in decades, giving judges more control over mandatory sentences, allowing some crack cocaine offenders to petition for a lighter sentence and promoting programs for offenders to successfully re-enter society.

“We have to realistically look and ask, what have we gotten for our dollar, have we slowed down the drug wars,” Mugridge said?

While state laws would not be changed by the federal bill, local law enforcement officials argue, Three Strikes has been effective.

“If we don’t have those types of prison sentencing, you know, it’s just going to give these criminals the opportunity to commit crime,” Fresno Deputy Sheriff’s Association President Eric Schmidt said. “They’re never going to have that enhanced sentence.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version of the First Step Act by an overwhelming majority back in May.

The House would also need to vote on this Senate version.

Some say if passed, this would be the president’s most bipartisan legislative victory, to date.

Reporting in studio, Megan Rupe.

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