Scott Lindquist


The author of this article argues that drug addicts who finance their addiction through crime should be ineligible to receive a prison sentence under a recidivist statute like the three-strikes penalty. Part I introduces the problem, addiction and crime among current prisoners reported by the Department of Justice. Part II discusses Gary Ewing, an addict, a criminal, and a third strike offender. The story of Gary Ewing represents the injustices levied upon an addict/criminal by enhanced sentenced statutes like the three-strikes penalty. Part III is a discussion of the history of repeat offender statutes, primarily focusing on the inception of California’s three-strikes policy and its later modification. Part IV is an analysis of the relationship between the theories of punishment and the three strikes policy and, more importantly, how these models do not fit the addict/criminal. Part V is a discussion of the various constitutional issues that surround the three-strikes penalty. Part VI discusses both the various statutory and the medical community’s definitions of addiction. Part VII explores defenses that are not available to the addict/criminal, but should be. Lastly, Part VIII discusses why breaking the cycle among family generations is so important and the statistics that support this proposition. This section also discusses treatment, the important role it plays in breaking this cycle, why treatment is failing in the country’s penal systems, and the ultimate cost benefit of treatment compared to incarceration.