Every day in this country, black and brown people are hastily sentenced to mandatory minimum prison sentences. Their lives hang in the balance, not based on a judge’s wisdom, but archaic punishments, such as California’s ‘three strikes’ law.
Ironically, California passed its ‘three strikes’ law after a white career criminal, Douglas Walker, was found guilty of accessory to the murder of 18-year-old Kimber Reynolds in 1992. Walker had been in trouble with the law since the not so tender age of 13, so when Reynolds’ father was made aware of Walker’s history, and after Walker had only served half of his 9 year prison sentence, Mr. Reynolds spearheaded a campaign for California’s “three strikes” law. The law dictates that criminals found guilty of three violent crimes or serious felonies must serve at least 25 years in prison.
Although Walker, who is white, committed his third felony in 2003, he avoided the three strikes law because of his white privilege. The judge who sentenced Walker said that his crime of stealing a tool chest was a low level crime, so he was only sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was paroled this past November and was rearrested in February after being accused of injury to a spouse, criminal threats and violation of probation.