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The ‘gotcha’ mentality of some prosecutors was readily apparent in the early historical application of the law.” Such application of the law, which Cooley called “grossly disproportionate” to the crimes being committed, led him to run for Los Angeles County District Attorney in 2000.

He won that race by a landslide 28 points, with reforming three strikes as “the centerpiece issue of the campaign,” according to Cooley.

Instead those inmates who served time for nonviolent, non-sex offenses will be “probationers” who are monitored by county probation officers – and the supervision period will be shortened.

About 47,000 prisoners a year were serving 90 days or fewer in state lockups – mostly on parole violations.State officials believe that, ultimately, the change could lower incarceration costs and improve public safety.Currently, California has one of the nation’s highest recidivism rates: around 70 percent of offenders who are paroled re-offend.While three strikes reformers in the state of California are holding their breath waiting for someone to field a ballot measure in 2012 that would amend the state’s controversial three strikes law, many are hoping that such a measure would replicate the judicial model used by Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley.MODEL LOS ANGELES Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley’s approach to enforcing the three strikes law – in which only felonies, and not misdemeanors, count towards the third strike that would result in a mandatory 25-to-life sentence – is a model that advocates say they want expanded across the entire state.

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