Race and Inequality

Race and the Three Strikes Law

Alana Van Grundy
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Miami University

Key Findings

  • Three strikes laws disproportionately affect minorities.
  • Implementation of three strikes laws accelerated racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
  • The black incarceration rate for third strikers is 12 times higher than the third strike incarceration rate for whites.


In the chapter Race and the Three Strikes Law of the book “Color Behind Bars: Racism in the U.S. Prison System”, Van Gundy and her coauthor argue that three strikes legislation has contributed to the mass incarceration of nonviolent offenders, a majority of which are minorities.

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