California has one of the least just three strikes and your out sentencing laws in the nation. The 1994 law allows non-violent felonies (often aggregavated themselves from what would have been misdemeanors if committed by a first time offender) to provide a basis for a sentence of life in prison. I've discussed inappropriate sentences under that law before in this space.
You know what? There is no clear evidence that it works to prevent crime, but very clear evidence that the law is costing Californians hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Life imprisonment for shoplifting is a gross violation of the 8th Amendment. Maybe, someday, the Supreme Court will wake up to that fact. In light of recent appointments, however, I don't have my hopes up.