California’s three strikes law is still in effect, although it has changed since it was initially enacted in the 1990’s. It was passed as a way to reduce the number of violent recidivist offenders in the state. Under the three strikes law, if a person is repeatedly convicted of serious or violent felonies, significant prison time will be added to their sentence.
In 2000 and again in 2006, the three strikes law was amended to add additional crimes to the list of qualifying offenses. In 2012, California voters approved Proposition 36, which changed the law so that in most cases, individuals will only receive a 25 years to life enhancement if all three of their felony convictions were serious or violent felonies. Previously, this lengthy “strike” sentence could be handed out for any felony offense, even if it were nonviolent, as long as the offender had two prior qualifying convictions.