SOUTH-CENTRAL : Youths to Protest 'Three Strikes' Law

More than 100 teen-agers are expected to march Wednesday against the state's "three strikes and you're out" law.

The current "three strikes" law mandates 25-year-to-life prison terms for criminals convicted of a third felony if their previous convictions were for violent or serious offenses such as robbery, arson or murder. The law includes offenses committed by 16- to 18-year-olds.

The protest is designed to catch the attention of lawmakers and to push for the removal of the provision of the law that includes juvenile offenses.

Organized by South Central Youth Empowered Thru Action, the procession begins at 2 p.m. at the Welcome Baptist Church, 8615 S. Central Ave., and will move its way toward 76th Street. At 3 p.m., marchers will protest the law in front of the Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center, 7625 S. Central Ave.

Marlo Jenkins, 18, a member of the organization, said the protest is in response to a July teen summit in which 300 area youths gathered to devise ways to challenge the law. "What we are trying to do is to get our policy-makers to write the youths out of the bill," said Jenkins, who said she has several teen-age friends who have been convicted of two felonies and could be affected by the law.

The youth organization proposes that instead of locking up people in jail for life and spending funds to build more prisons, more money should be spent on creating jobs and improving education to prevent crime.

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