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Exemplification Essay: Three-Strikes Law is a Mindless Response to Crime

In 1983, a young man named Michael was brought before a Pennsylvania court on a charge of armed robbery: he stole $50 from a taxi driver using a toy gun. A few days later he was arrested and was subsequently convicted. Although the trial judge sentenced Michael to 6 months in prison and required that he repay the $50, the prosecutor demanded the 5 year minimum sentence required by state law. The trial judge ruled the mandatory sentencing law unconstitutional, and Michael served his prison time and repaid the money. Four years later, the state supreme court ordered the trial judge to sentence Michael to 5 years in prison. The trial judge refused and resigned. The judge to whom the case was reassigned permitted Michael to remain free pending another appeal to the state supreme court. Michael realized the futility of his cause in court and quietly disappeared, and he remains at large today.

Recently, one of the most popular proposals in the effort to get tough on crime has been the “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” proposal. This law, which is already in effect in Washington state and California, requires that offenders convicted of three violent crimes be sentenced to life in prison without parole. This proposal has received broad-based support from federal and state politicians including President Bill Clinton, Senator Bob Dole, and Governor Mario Cuomo. The law is based on the idea that the majority of felonies are committed by 6% of “hard core” criminals, and that crime can be reduced by getting these criminals off the streets. Unfortunately, the proposal fails to take into account several major flaws in the law and its implementation.

The first problem the proposal is its principle of removing judicial discretion, severely hindering a judge’s ability to make the punishment fit the crime. One man in Washington is faced with life in prison if convicted of his third felony: stealing $120 from a sandwich shop by putting his finger in his pocket and pretending to have a gun. His prior two convictions were for similar crimes. While it is certainly true that some incorrigible felons deserve life in prison, it is patently unfair to create a sweeping standard that would force the courts to sentence offenders to life imprisonment for relatively minor crimes. The three-strikes law gives a judge no discretion in cases like that of the Washington man, or Michael.

Comparing Tennessee William’s Life and Streetcar Named Desire and Glass Menagerie

Parallels in William’s Life and A Streetcar Named Desire and Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams is one of the greatest American playwrights. He was constantly shocking audiences with themes such as homosexuality, drug addictions, and rape. He broke free from taboos on such subjects, paving the way for future playwrights. He also was a very good writer. One of the things he is famous for is his dialogue, which is very poetic.

Williams wrote about his life. The Glass Menagerie is a very autobiographical play. A Streetcar Named Desire, although meant to a play that anyone can relate to, also contained characters and situations from his life. In both plays, the characters are drawn from his life. The other relationship I would like to discuss is the similarities between The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, which have similar characters and themes throughout them.

Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams, in 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. He had an older sister named Rose, who was born in 1909; his one younger brother, Dakin was born in 1919. Williams lived with his mother and her parents in small southern towns. His father was a traveling shoe salesman, who was rarely home. The first years of his life were very idyllic. His father was rarely around, so he wasn’t teased as much, and he enjoyed living with his grandparents. In fact, he went to stay with them after working in the factory in order to recuperate. He was very close to his sister, Rose, and took care of her when she was older. In 1918, Tom’s father got a job as the manager of a shoe company, in St. Louis. Tom hated the big city. His father constantly teased him about being a sissy, calling him Miss Nancy. His mothe…

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…plays run many common themes, often themes from Williams own life. He was a writer who broke taboos and wrote about depraved people, people going crazy and many other themes that weren’t considered appropriate at the time. His own life was very chaotic. He was always feeling guilty about his sister.

Bibliography A Streetcar Named Desire. By Tennessee Williams. Dir. Scot Whitney. Harlequin Productions, Olympia. September 1998.

2.“Remember Tennessee Williams.” Tom Sullivan. 21 June 2000. Roudane, Mathew C. Ed. The Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams. New York: Cambridge Press, 1997 Williams, Tennessee. “The Glass Menagerie”. Anthology of American Literature: From Realism to the Present. By Tennessee Williams. Ed. McMichael, George et. al. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000. 1445-

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