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‘Two strikes’ law is too broad | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
Mark Jones, seen here at the Marion Correctional Institution in Lowell, received a life sentence under what’s called the Prison Releasee Reoffender Act -- what some deemed a two-strikes law when it was passed in 1997. He had priors -- not uncommon for someone in his situation, but it was the fact that he’d committed a new crime within three years of completing a separate prison sentence for an unrelated crime.
Mark Jones, seen here at the Marion Correctional Institution in Lowell, received a life sentence under what’s called the Prison Releasee Reoffender Act -- what some deemed a two-strikes law when it was passed in 1997. He had priors -- not uncommon for someone in his situation, but it was the fact that he’d committed a new crime within three years of completing a separate prison sentence for an unrelated crime. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Dec. 8, 2021

Think again

‘Two strikes’ law often doesn’t fit the crime | Editorial, Dec. 7

Thanks to the Tampa Bay Times for highlighting the critical issue of criminal justice reform. Traditional politics calls for being “tough on crime,” but unfortunately that makes our politicians less willing to critically examine this important issue. But as this editorial points out, often this means an overreach that creates excessive prison time for those who fall within the narrow confines of the repeat offender act. Certainly, those guilty of heinous crimes must pay the penalty of extended incarceration.

But if someone is guilty of three lesser crimes, they should not have to pay the penalty of a lifetime behind bars. Unfortunately, that’s how our system works. That’s wrong, and I join with the Times Editorial Board and state Sen. Jeff Brandes in advocating for mediation for those who’ve fallen under the trap of the repeat offender act and for changes to our laws to keep others from serving a life sentence they do not deserve.

The repeat offenders act is morally reprehensible, does nothing to control crime and costs the taxpayers dearly in keeping people locked up in expensive facilities. It’s time for a rethinking.

Jon Crawfurd, Gulfport

Individual freedom

Fla. Senate president targets local ordinances | Dec. 7

So Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson is promoting SB 620, which would allow certain businesses to sue if local governments pass ordinances that cause at least 15 percent losses of revenue or profits. It is amazing that the people who are the loudest to claim they believe in individual freedoms seem to be the most willing to take control away and insist the state mandate local policy.

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg

A COVID vacation

Time to redefine ‘fully vaxed?’ | Dec. 7

I want to extend to Gov. Ron DeSantis my deepest gratitude for his policy prohibiting mask mandates in schools and his and his surgeon general’s downplaying the effectiveness of COVID vaccination. These policies have facilitated my 14-year-old granddaughter’s contracting COVID, most likely in school. Now she gets a 14-day vacation at the end of the semester. She is an excellent student and loves school. She did not need this preventable interruption. Rather than doing less, we should be doing more to end this pandemic. Fortunately, my granddaughter received two doses of the COVID vaccine and hopefully will have a mild clinical course.

Dr. David A. Cimino, St. Petersburg