While society is trying to deter criminal activity, prison reformers are trying to change criminal laws so that individuals in the justice system see fairer outcomes. In 2021, the Washington three-strike rule was modified to reduce the sentences of people with nonviolent convictions.
The revised law
Washington’s Senate Bill 5164 was passed to remove the third conviction of certain individuals who have two previous convictions. This rule affects people who are convicted of second-degree robbery with no weapon or injury.
Previously, they were sentenced to life without parole due to the three-strikes law. It states that a person convicted of three violent felonies will be locked up for life. However, people with only two violent convictions will now be resentenced to lesser terms.
Changes to criminal defense
Every defendant who has a pending criminal case has rights to explore. A loosened version of the three-strikes law shows that criminal law statutes never stay the same forever. Hundreds of convicts will be resentenced or released from prison under the new rules. As a result, the state government may review Washington’s other tough laws and suggest revisions in the future.
More changes to laws in other states
More than 20 states have three-strikes laws to lock away violent offenders with at least three convictions. However, not all convictions need to be violent in nature for a person to be put away for life. Prison reformers have tried to change the law that unfairly targets disadvantaged individuals. Washington’s revision of its three-strikes law may inspire other states to follow suit.