Definition of three strikes in English:

three strikes

noun

US
  • [mass noun], [usually as modifier] Legislation which makes an offender's third felony punishable by life imprisonment or other severe sentence.

    ‘we got a three strikes law here—three felonies and it's life’
    • ‘California already locks up more three strikes offenders than the other states that have similar repeat offender laws on their books put together.’
    • ‘But the three strikes law is anything but narrowly tailored.’
    • ‘Under a three strikes policy in Tasmania and Queensland - and in South Australia from next month - drivers nabbed for a third time lose their cars forever.’
    • ‘It's illegal, but there's no three strikes law.’
    • ‘California has the toughest and most vigorously enforced three strikes law in the nation.’
    • ‘The three strikes law is supposed to apply exclusively to violent criminals, and if it must stay on the books, it should still only apply to them.’
    • ‘That makes him eligible for life in prison under California's three strikes law and the prosecutor in the case is asking the judge to impose that life sentence.’
    • ‘California, which has the three strikes system, now spends more on its prison system than on education, say civil rights groups.’
    • ‘But if there's a prisoner-rights issue that screams for redress, it's three strikes.’
    • ‘The Supreme Court will rule on the three strikes law this term.’
    • ‘It is significant that the expression of public disapproval embodied in the Western Australian three strikes law is directed in practice so narrowly at youth offenders.’
    • ‘They didn't vote to put nonviolent offenders in prison for life for stealing a slice of pizza or writing a bad check, but that's what the outcome of three strikes has been thus far.’
    • ‘The three strikes law should only apply exclusively to violent criminals.’
    • ‘Most states with three strikes legislation confine it to serious violent crime.’
    • ‘It's hard to say whether it's a good or bad thing that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the three strikes law.’
    • ‘I also oppose the three strikes law and all other rigid sentencing regimes.’
    • ‘I see amending the three strikes law as a step towards healing and reconciling families and communities.’
    • ‘The three strikes law made lying acceptable in some way and perhaps required her lie.’
    • ‘Almost 60 percent of California's three strikes cases involve nonviolent offenses in which the courts hand down sentences of 25 years to life.’
    • ‘The current three strikes law has also hung in there as long as it has because there has been no detectable swing in public sentiment toward changing the law.’

Origin

1990s: from the phrase three strikes and you're out (with allusion to baseball).