Three Strikes Law and Legal Definition

Three strikes law refers to a category of statutes enacted by states, beginning in the 1990s, to require long periods of imprisonment for persons convicted of three or more felonies on separate occasions. A third felony conviction usually brings a sentence of life in prison, with no parole possible until a long period of time, most commonly 25 years, has been served. The first "three strikes" law, with virtually no exceptions provided, was enacted by Washington state voters' approval of Initiative 593 in 1993. California followed a year later in 1994.

Three-strikes laws varies considerably from state to state. Some states require all three felony convictions to be for violent crimes in order for the mandatory sentence to be imposed, while others impose the mandatory sentence for the third felony as long as the first two felonies were deemed to be either "violent" or "serious," or both.

The following link provides various statistics on California's three strikes law: