Some legislators in Washington State, which started the “three strikes and you’re out” movement in 1993, want to ease the law by giving less-violent criminals the chance to walk free some day, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Under the proposal, inmates whose three “strike” convictions don’t include any Class A felonies –the most serious crimes under state law — would be able to ask for release after serving 15 years. “At some point, when a guy is well past his prime and has served a good long time,” says Sen. Adam Kline, “You have to consider whether keeping him in jail is worth the expense.”
Of about 200 prisoners who have been given life sentences under the three strikes law, 38 have no Class A felony convictions and would be eligible — starting with six of them in 2010 — to ask for release under the proposal. Prosecutors would not support removing second-degree robbery, an idea that would immediately free about 50 three-strike prisoners and release almost 40 more as they complete the standard sentences for their most recent strikes. Russ Hauge, president of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, said taking second-degree robbery off the list “goes too far away from the intent” of the 11-year-old voter-approved three strikes initiative.