by pretrial inmates. Some unknown amount of this increase is likely due to Three Strikes. In particular, these are inmates who, in the absence of Three Strikes, would have had their cases resolved relatively quickly by plea bargain and would already have been transferred to state prison.According to a 2004 report by the Corrections Standards Authority (CSA), formerly the Board of Corrections, the increase in the proportion of pretrial inmates has significant implications for operating costs of jails because these inmates are often assigned to higher levels of security and require more resources as they go through the legal process. The amount of additional costs for county jails to hold pretrial inmates is unknown.It should be noted that, even as more pretrial inmates are in jail, the number of inmates released from jails early due to overcrowding actually declined by 45 percent between 1995 and 2004, based on a report by the CSA. This finding suggests that jails have been able to accommodate the additional workload from Three Strikes.Summary of Impact of Three Strikes on Criminal Justice System.Three Strikes has increased the sentence length of a significant proportion of the inmate population, resulting in a growing and aging prison population. The fiscal impact of the measure has been significant at both the state and local level. We estimate that the additional state operational costs resulting from Three Strikes are about one half billion dollars annually, and the state will likely face significantly higher future costs resulting from this measure as the striker population continues to grow and age. In addition, local courts and jails faceunknown, but significant increased costs for prosecuting and incarcerating offenders tried under the Three Strikes law.The Impact of Three Strikes On Public SafetyProjected Public Safety Impact. The primary justification given by supporters for the Three Strikes law was that it would reduce crime in California in two ways. First, the law would remove repeat offenders from communities for longer periods of time, eliminating the possibility that they could commit new crimes during that period-referred to as an “incapacitation” effect. Second, some advocates of Three Strikes suggested that the severe punishment options associated with the law would deter some potential offenders,thereby preventing some crime that might otherwise occur-a deterrent effect.
Crime Rates Since 1994.The overall crime rate in California, as measured by the Department of Justice’s California Crime Index, began declining before the passage of the Three Strikes law. In fact, the overall crime rate declined by 10 percent between 1991 and1994. The crime rate continued to decline after Three Strikes, falling by 43 percent statewide between 1994 and 1999, though it has risen by about 11 percent since 1999.