Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700
FAMM Criticizes Arizona Judiciary Committee
for Failure to Advance Sentencing Reforms
PHOENIX, AZ – Today two important sentencing reform bills died in the Arizona Legislature because they were not advanced by the Arizona House Judiciary Committee. Bills that have not been approved by committee as of today will not receive further consideration by the legislature during this legislative session. The two bills are HB 2245 (introduced by Rep. Tony Rivero, R-21), which would give local judges more flexibility to avoid mandatory minimum sentences that are unjust and unnecessary to protect the public, and HB 2270 (introduced by Rep. Walt Blackman, R-6), which would decrease the time-served requirement for nonviolent offenders to 50 percent from 85 percent.
“For Arizona families in the criminal justice system, sentencing reform can’t wait,” said FAMM Vice President of Policy Molly Gill. “Every day without it, kids grow up without parents and spouses fight to put food on the table alone.
“More than 30 other states have reformed or repealed their mandatory minimum sentences. Arizona is one of only two states in the country that keeps everyone in prison for at least 85 percent of the sentence, whether the person is dangerous or not. The current system hurts families and taxpayers,” said Gill.
Gill noted that two modest criminal justice reform bills were advanced in the state’s House and Senate Judiciary Committees: HB 2361 (introduced by Rep. Ben Toma, R-22), which eliminates repetitive offender sentencing enhancements for people who are not truly repeat offenders, and SB 1310, which would reduce time served for some marijuana-possession offenders who complete drug treatment or self-improvement programs. FAMM supports HB 2361, which is similar to reforms included in the bipartisan First Step Act signed by President Trump on December 21, 2018.
Arizona’s next legislative session does not begin until January 2020.
For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies in 6 states and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.
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