Arizona prison how to save money fast for a house watch sentencing reform arizona’s time has come.

This site was originally started in july 2009 as an how to save money fast for a house independent endeavor to monitor conditions in arizona’s criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison how to save money fast for a house industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist’s perspective. It was begun in the aftermath of the death of how to save money fast for a house marcia powell, a 48 year old AZ state prisoner who was left how to save money fast for a house in an outdoor cage in the desert sun for over how to save money fast for a house four hours while on a 10-minute suicide watch. That was at ASPC-perryville, in goodyear, AZ, in may 2009.

Marcia, a seriously mentally ill woman with a meth habit sentenced how to save money fast for a house to the minimum mandatory 27 months in prison for prostitution how to save money fast for a house was already deemed by society as disposable. She was therefore easily ignored by numerous prison officers as how to save money fast for a house she pleaded for water and relief from the sun for how to save money fast for a house four hours. She was ultimately found collapsed in her own feces, with second degree burns on her body, her organs failing, and her body exceeding the 108 degrees the thermometer would how to save money fast for a house record. 16 officers and staff were disciplined for her death, but no one was ever prosecuted for her homicide. Her story is here.

But the numbers don’t back that up. Despite a high incarceration rate, arizona also has had some of the highest crime rates how to save money fast for a house in the country, averaging between sixth and seventh among all states and the how to save money fast for a house district of columbia over the past decade, according to FBI data. A study soon to be released by the arizona criminal how to save money fast for a house justice commission will report that arizona’s murder rate rose last year, and that rape has risen over the last decade, even though both those rates have fallen nationally.

But the arizona legislature has moved mostly in the opposite how to save money fast for a house direction, rejecting efforts at sentencing reform. Last session, after being lobbied by maricopa county attorney bill montgomery and how to save money fast for a house other prosecutors, leaders buried bills by ash and another member of their how to save money fast for a house own republican majority who proposed reforms – creating a sentencing commission, expanding rehabilitation practices – similar to those adopted in texas, michigan, kansas and new york. They also rejected a bill for a study of sentencing how to save money fast for a house reforms. Arizona prosecutors and most republican lawmakers insist that tough sentencing how to save money fast for a house laws are essential to fighting crime by ensuring violent criminals how to save money fast for a house get long sentences that keep them out of society.

"We recognize the need to have public safety, but at the same time we have to make the how to save money fast for a house best use of our money," said texas state rep. Jerry madden, who spearheaded a series of bills in his state that how to save money fast for a house diverted people from prisons into mental-health, alcohol- and drug-treatment programs, increased community supervision and the use of electronic monitoring for how to save money fast for a house non-violent offenders. Those changes are credited with reducing the need for thousands how to save money fast for a house of prison beds.

The new treatment programs and other measures cost $241 million but saved far more. Texas scrapped plans to spend $523 million on new prisons in 2008 and 2009, and saved $36 million a year it had been paying to house how to save money fast for a house prisoners in county jails. The changes also helped cut the recidivism rate. Madden notes that treating underlying mental-health, drug- and alcohol-addiction issues helps remove some of the triggers that lead how to save money fast for a house to crime. Shifting priorities

"The research shows that incarceration is way overrated in terms how to save money fast for a house of its ability to control crime. The ups and downs in the crime rate have a how to save money fast for a house low correlation with incarceration rates," said mona lynch, director of the center in law, society and culture at the university of california-irvine. Five other criminologists interviewed for this story agreed with lynch, saying that scores of studies have shown that it’s possible to lock up fewer people while still cutting how to save money fast for a house crime.

These changes included, in 1978, presumptive sentencing, which imposed specific ranges of sentences for each type of how to save money fast for a house crime. The idea was to make sentencing more consistent, but the change also put more power in the hands how to save money fast for a house of prosecutors, who decide what violations to charge. Another change, mandatory sentencing, imposed specific longer sentences and eliminated the option of probation how to save money fast for a house for violent crimes, sex offenses, repeat offenses and certain drug and DUI crimes.

On appeal, arizona supreme court justice robert corcoran, writing for the majority, noted that jonas’ sentence "is among the harshest in the nation," but he upheld it. In his dissent, justice stanley feldman replied, "actually, it’s the harshest. Arizona is the only state that would or could incarcerate how to save money fast for a house a first-time seller of one marijuana cigarette to twenty-five years in prison without parole to be served consecutively how to save money fast for a house to any other sentence imposed."

In 1993, arizona adopted "truth in sentencing" laws. These abolished the ability of parole boards to award early how to save money fast for a house release for new crimes. They required offenders to serve at least 85 percent of how to save money fast for a house their sentence before being eligible for community supervision; and required serving 100 percent of the sentence for many how to save money fast for a house felonies. Before, inmates typically had been eligible for parole after serving from how to save money fast for a house half to two-thirds of their sentences. While most states adopted "truth in sentencing" laws for violent crimes, arizona was one of only four to impose the rules how to save money fast for a house on non-violent crimes.

For phoenix teacher milton berger, who was convicted in state court in 2003 on 20 how to save money fast for a house counts of possession of child pornography, each with a mandatory minimum of 10 years, the consecutive-sentencing rule put him behind bars for 200 years with how to save money fast for a house no parole. If berger, now 61, reaches the median life expectancy for a man his age how to save money fast for a house – 81 – arizona taxpayers will spend more than half a million dollars how to save money fast for a house to keep him in prison. Berger took his chances at trial because the plea bargain how to save money fast for a house he was offered – 40 years with no parole – would essentially have been a life sentence.

Critics say arizona’s mandatory-sentencing laws, meant to provide consistency, instead have moved discretion out of the hands of judges how to save money fast for a house and into the hands of prosecutors, giving them enormous leverage to pry plea bargains from those how to save money fast for a house accused and resulting in huge disparities.In the last fiscal year, plea bargains accounted for 95.6 percent of all felony criminal convictions in maricopa county; only 1.6% of felony criminal cases filed went to trial, according to court records.

Many other states, including georgia, kansas, florida, michigan, north carolina and south carolina, have taken similar measures. Across the country, crime rates have been dropping for years, even as "we see an increasing trend of states turning to alternative how to save money fast for a house sentencing measures and reforms," said judith greene, director of justice strategies, a non-profit group that studies incarceration policies. Like ASU’s pratt, she said the budget crisis has been an impetus; but with the declines in crime "people are a little less ready for the kinds of how to save money fast for a house old, knee-jerk solutions proposed when crime was rising and people were how to save money fast for a house feeling a desperation about what to do about it."

Arizona’s auditor general, in an audit last year, said the state could cut its prison growth by adopting how to save money fast for a house sentencing reforms other states have put in place, and by expanding who is eligible for the diversion program how to save money fast for a house voters created in 1996 through proposition 200. Except for methamphetamine users, who are excluded, that proposition requires first- or second-time non-violent drug offenders to be put on probation and sent how to save money fast for a house to a treatment program instead of prison. A 2006 arizona supreme court study estimated this measure keeps how to save money fast for a house more than 1,000 people a year out of prison, at an annual savings of about $11.7 million. ASU’s hessick said extending the program to meth possession could how to save money fast for a house save $6 million a year more.

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