Among Florida’s controversial legislation is the Two Strikes law. Read our blog to learn more.
Background and Purpose
Florida's 'two strikes' law, also known as the Prison Releasee Reoffender Act, is a law that was passed in 1997 with the intention of increasing punishments for repeat offenders. Under this law, if someone is convicted of a felony within three years of leaving prison, they are subject to a mandatory life sentence. This means that individuals who have already served time in prison for one crime may be given a life sentence if they commit another felony.
The 'two strikes' law has been heavily criticized by many due to its harshness and potential for abuse. It has been argued that this law disproportionately affects marginalized communities and those who are already disadvantaged by the criminal justice system. Furthermore, it has been noted that the severity of the punishment does not necessarily reflect the severity of the crime committed. For instance, an individual could receive a life sentence for committing a nonviolent offense such as theft or burglary.
Included with its criticism, there have been some efforts from legislators to reduce the impact of this legislation on individuals affected by it. In 2021, Sen. Darryl Rouson and Rep Kimberly Daniels introduced legislation aimed at reducing prison sentences for those affected by Florida’s ‘two strikes’ law and allowing them to become eligible for parole after serving 10 years in prison instead of 25 years as previously required under the act.
The Human Cost
The two-strikes initiative has garnered support from the Florida Sheriffs Association, which views the law as a necessary measure to prevent future crime. The proposal comes after an early releasee was arrested on drug charges, prompting concerns about the state's ability to manage recidivism.
However, critics argue that the "two strikes" law may lead to unjust re-incarceration of individuals who have already served their time and are trying to reintegrate into society. While proponents believe that the law will deter repeat offenses and protect communities, opponents question its potential impact on rehabilitation efforts and the criminal justice system as a whole.
Regardless of the political debate surrounding the legislation, loved ones of those directly affected by it may feel helpless. It is crucial that individuals reach out to qualified legal professionals about their options. The two strikes law is definitive and if handled improperly, could result in families losing their loved ones to long-term incarceration.
It is important to note that certain factors can exacerbate how this law is applied. For example, if an individual commits multiple felonies at once or commits multiple felonies within a short period of time then they may be more likely to receive a life sentence under this law. Additionally, individuals who have previously been convicted of violent offenses may also be more likely to receive harsher sentences under this law than those who have only committed nonviolent crimes.
Overall, it is important to understand what constitutes a "strike" under Florida's 'Two Strikes' Law and how it can affect individuals who are subject to it. It is also essential to be aware of any ongoing discussions or potential changes regarding this legislation so that we can ensure that everyone receives fair treatment under the criminal justice system regardless of their past convictions or circumstances surrounding their case.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, contact the Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A.