Rep. Blackman Introduces Bill To Increase Earned Release Credits For People In Arizona Prisons

By Jimmy Jenkins
Published: Friday, February 7, 2020 - 8:25am
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020 - 8:26am

Walter Blackman
Jimmy Jenkins/KJZZ
Walter Blackman in February 2020.

State Rep. Walt Blackman has introduced legislation that would expand the availability of earned release credits for people in Arizona prisons. 

Currently inmates in Arizona are mandated to spend 85% of their sentence behind bars.

Blackman’s bill would allow non-violent offenders to earn an additional 15% off their sentence by completing drug programming.

“This is a crisis issue that we are at right now," Blackman said at the Capitol on Thursday. "We’re at a crossroads at our state. With 43,000 inmates and a tax bill of $1.1 billion, it’s time that we do something.”

Blackman said his bill would help to reduce recidivism rates and increase public safety.

Blackman’s previous bill with similar language did not get a hearing in the House Judiciary committee. He said he would like to see this version assigned to the Public Safety committee.