Segments in this Video

Determinate Sentencing Law (03:17)


Over the past two decades, the U.S. prison population has increased 450%. The murders of Kimber Reynolds (1992) and Polly Klaas (1993) lead to the enactment of the nation’s toughest “determinate sentencing law,” known as "Three Strikes, You're Out."

Habitual Criminals (03:01)

Mike Reynolds reflects on the capture of his daughter's killer. He asks why this man was out on parole committing more crimes. What is the state's responsibility for habitual criminals?

"Three Strikes" Initiative (05:39)

Thousands of volunteers mobilize to find Polly Klaas, who was kidnapped from her home in 1993. After the murder of his daughter, Mike Reynolds designs a new law to keep repeat offenders off the streets. Unfortunately, the "Three Strikes, You’re Out" initiative didn't go anywhere in the state legislature the first time around.

Massive Search for Polly Klaas (02:34)

Klaas and thousands of volunteers work tirelessly for two months to find Polly. The support for Polly and her family is a huge mobilization effort that had not been seen before. Forty billion images of Polly appear all over the world.

Momentum of "Three Strikes" Initiative (03:27)

Reynolds needs 400,000 signature to get his "Three Strikes, You're Out" initiative on the California ballot. When Davis is arrested for Polly's murder, it fuels Reynolds' efforts because Davis is a poster boy for the "Three Strikes" law.

Massive Support for "Three Strikes" Initiative (04:13)

Polly's murderer fits the profile of the type of criminal the "Three Strikes" initiative hopes to keep in prison. The momentum of the Klaas case and the Reynolds case melds into one huge effort to get the initiative on the ballot.

Determinate Sentence Law (05:32)

Davis, a violent offender, was released from prison because of the "determinate sentence law." Even though California's prison populations skyrocketed, the state's crime index remained relatively flat. Should more punitive measures be put in place?

Polly Klaas: America's Daughter (04:27)

Marc Klaas, determined to see that Polly did not die in vain, gets behind the "Three Strikes" initiative to imprison violent felons. Politicians soon jump on the bandwagon, as Polly Klaas had become "America's daughter."

Controversy Over "Three Strikes" (04:49)

Controversy arises when it becomes clear that the new law includes non-violent crimes in the list of over 500 felonies in California. The Klaas family vehemently opposes the legislation because it equates non-violent crimes with child rape and murder.

Alternative to "Three Strikes" (06:57)

Marc Klaas supports the Raney Bill, which offers a common sense alternative to the "Three Strikes" law by only going after violent offenders. Unfortunately, for political expediency, all major California candidates supported the "Three Strikes" law without consideration to cost or human rights.

Ramifications of "Three Strikes" (03:44)

When Marc Klaas realizes the draconian aspects of the "Three Strikes" initiative, he publicly works against its passage. Media and political pressures, however, are too much for most politicians, and they sign the bill into law. The Klaas family distances itself from the "Three Strikes" legislation.

Playing Politics With Polly Klaas's Name (05:56)

In his drive to win the governor's seat, Mike Huffington, using Polly Klaas's name, asks for support for the Reynolds' initiative, even though the Klaas family opposes the initiative and publicly attacks it.

Partisan Support for "Three Strikes" Initiative (04:39)

Many agenda interact over supporting the "Three Strikes" initiative. Large financial supporters include the California Republican Party, Mike Huffington, the NRA, and the prison guards union. Politics, greed, and lust for power hitch a ride on the "Three Strikes" rhetoric.

Prison Construction Industry: Big Business (04:45)

As California's imprisonments increase, more prisons are built and more employees hired. Education, however, loses funds and employees. Contrary to every think tank's conclusions, California "invests" in prisons instead of education.

Devastating Racial Applications of "Three Strikes" (04:54)

Political campaigners withhold the truth about "Three Strikes," leading the public to believe that the initiative is only targeted at violent criminals. Unfortunately, the initiative is aimed at many more nonviolent criminals than violent criminals.

California Voters Deceived (04:35)

California voters, caught up in the momentum fomented by special interest groups and ambitious candidates, had little choice but to support the initiative. This put Republicans in charge of the California legislature.

California Justice? (02:16)

A California Supreme Court Justice argues that the "Three Strikes" law is inappropriate and essentially negates the role of judges. Justice may be blind, but it doesn't have to be unreasonable. There is no data to indicate California's decision to pass "Three Strikes" has lowered the state's crime rate.

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

The Legacy: Murder and Media, Politics and Prisons

DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



From murders to manhunts to a win-at-all-costs political campaign, this riveting exposé presents the disturbing story behind the passage of California’s stringent "Three Strikes" law. Through candid interviews and news footage, Mike Reynolds and Marc Klaas—brothers-in-arms turned bitter opponents—and other key players including judges, legal analysts, and state officials illuminate both sides of this heated issue, revealing in stark terms how criminal justice policy is debated and promoted in today’s media-saturated political climate—particularly in a state where more money is spent on building prisons than on education. (77 minutes)

Length: 78 minutes

Item#: BVL9126

ISBN: 978-1-4213-7475-8

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

Notable Videos for Adults 2001, ALA Video Roundtable

"An outstanding discussion starter for high school, college, and general audiences, this is highly recommended."—Video Librarian

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.