Committee Makes Recommendations For Changes To Arizona Earned Release Credit System

Published: Monday, December 2, 2019 - 6:17pm
Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 12:33pm
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The Ad Hoc Committee on Earned Release Credits approved a set of recommendations to improve the criminal justice system in Arizona on Monday. 

Members of the bipartisan committee spent months gathering information from stakeholders to find ways to improve the current system, that allows offenders to earn their way home faster by taking part in programming and displaying good behavior.

Committee Chairman representative Walter Blackman said "there is a need for enhanced educational, vocational and mental health programming in our prison systems.”

Blackman introduced several recommendations that were unanimously approved by the committee, including expanding earned release credits to 3 days for every 5 days served for people convicted of Class 4, 5 or 6 felonies.

The recommendations don’t change anything but committee members said they would serve as the foundation for proposed legislation in the upcoming session.

Committee Recommendations

  • Require local and state criminal justice agencies to report complete, accurate and timely data, making such data available to the executive, House of Representatives and Senate and the Ad Hoc Committee on Earned Release Credit
  • Increase public/private partnerships for reentry programs
  • Utilize tech academies to help fully staff GED programs
  • Expand earned release credits to 60% (3 days for every 5 days served) for people convicted of Class 4, 5 or 6 felonies
  • Expand deferred prosecution pursuant to ARS11-361 and ensure that it is available statewide
  • Fund and increase capacity for drug treatment and educations programs as well as for transition and re-entry into the community
  • Require the implementation of a statewide, publicly accessible database of criminal justice system data that includes data from the prosecutors offices, regarding the charging and sentencing of defendants and prison demographic data
  • Prohibit the use of drug priors as an allegeable prior for non drug related offenses
  • Establish a citizens oversight board for the Department of Corrections
  • Remove the functional literacy requirement or ARS41-1604.07 Section F

To talk about the committee's recommendations, The Show reached out to Jeremy Duda, reporter with the Arizona Mirror.

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