Michael Sokolove, author of “The Ticket Out: Darryl Strawberry and the Boys of Crenshaw,” writes in today’s Los Angeles Times about Carl Jones, a catcher on the storied baseball team who is now serving 25 years to life in prison under California’s three-strikes law. The law faces a public challenge in November’s election with ballot Proposition 66. Sokolove writes that Jones, a drug abuser, was convicted twice of home burglaries and once for breaking into his old high school in Crenshaw. He won’t be eligible for parole consideration until 2019.
The author writes, “As is always the case with California ballot propositions, there is strong disagreement about what the actual effect of Prop. 66 will be if it passes. Proponents contend that it will free thousands of prisoners who, like Carl, have had a 25-year-to-life term imposed for nonviolent offenses and that it would shave millions of dollars from a prisons budget that is routinely rounded off in news reports to $6 billion a year. Opponents, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have predictably fallen back on what initially drove enactment of three strikes: raw, primitive fear.” The writer calls Schwarzenegger’s stance “particularly gutless.”