April 1, 2019

Criminal Justice Reform in Arizona

With eight new bills in Legislature, a poll shows more than half of Arizonans want some form of criminal justice reform.

Reforming the criminal justice system was once again a topic of discussion at the Legislature in Phoenix. However, the push didn’t make many gains with lawmakers at the Capitol.

Emily Levett, state policy manager for fwd.us, joined Lorraine Rivera to discuss a recent Arizona poll. Levett said six bills for criminal justice reforms are getting blocked by a few legislative members, despite support from Arizonans.

Levett discussed the differences found in Arizona’s justice system versus the rest of the U.S.

“Since 2000, the number of people who have entered prisons — who have been admitted to prison for nonviolent drug and property crimes — has grown by 80 percent,” Levett said. “People stay behind bars in prison in Arizona far longer than other states.”

Levett said Arizona spends an estimated $1.1 billion on incarceration every year. “What the data shows is that putting more and more people in prison, especially for nonviolent crimes, does not make our community safer.”

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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