CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, October 2, 2006

Despite 3 Strike Rules, Serial Offenders Still Slip Through

From All across the nation, in cities large and small, police departments deal with serial offenders who cycle through the criminal justice system hundreds of times, only to end up back on the street to be arrested all over again.

It's a phenomenon that persists despite the near-universality of "three strikes" laws that are supposed to keep habitual criminals behind bars.

It's not something police departments are eager to publicize, so most don't even try to compile the data. Police in Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles, for example, said they don't keep lists of most-arrested criminals. Neither does the FBI. In a world of three-strikes laws, in other words, few are counting the at-bats.

"I think the public would be very shocked to find out how much of this is going on," said Sgt. Steve Copeland of the Houston Police Department's major offenders division. "But if you publicized a list like that, you would have a hard time explaining how these guys keep getting out to commit these crimes." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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