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The Editors

California Prisons Can’t Afford Costly Three Strikes Law: View

The costly mess that is the California prison system has produced inmate strikes, violence and a Supreme Court ruling that its teeming institutions are unconstitutional. Now it may produce a welcome byproduct: justice.

Last week, the state gave the go-ahead to a proposed ballot initiative to modify California’s “three strikes” law, enabling backers of the initiative to begin gathering the signatures necessary to put it to a vote. Approved by voters in 1994 after the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas by a career criminal, the law reflected the public’s frustration with pervasive and seemingly ever-more-violent crime.