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Law students help three-strikes offenders.

In 2006, a Stanford law school lecturer launched a clinic whereby law students work to reverse what they view as miscarriages of justice under California's three-strikes law, reported the Los Angeles Times. The students take aim at the most controversial part of the law, which imposes at least 25 years to life in prison for any felony (including nonviolent, such as petty theft or drug possession) as long as an offender's criminal history includes at least two violent or serious crimes. The students and instructors are hoping their work will spur changes in the law, which they believe is used to unfairly sentence those with mental illness, drug abuse histories or extreme poverty.

Since September, students have persuaded judges to lessen the sentences of four prisoners, three of which have already been released. More than 8,400 inmates are serving possible life terms under the three-strikes law, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Of those, more than 1,300 were sentences for drug offenses and nearly 2,500 for property crimes.

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Title Annotation:News Briefs
Author:Gormsen, Lia
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Previous Article:Nonprofit trains ex-offenders for jobs.
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