Contact: Rabiah Burks
FAMM Praises New Approach to Arizona Drug Sentencing
Today, FAMM Vice President of Policy Molly Gill issued the following statement in response to the introduction of a cutting-edge drug sentencing reform bill, HB 2303, in Arizona by Representatives David Stringer (R-1), Reginald Bolding (D-27), Russell Bowers (R-25), Noel Campbell (R-1), Todd Clodfelter (R-10), Kirsten Engel (D-10), Daniel Hernandez (D-2), Tony Navarrete (D-30), and Ben Toma (R-22):
“This bill is a breath of fresh air and could not come at a better time for Arizonans. With Arizona’s drug problems, courts need all the tools they can get to keep families together, get treatment to those who need it, and reserve prison beds for the most serious offenders. Red and blue states alike are taking this approach and watching crime go down. The lawmakers pioneering this effort in Arizona are clearly driven to do something that works, not just more of the same.”
On January 22, the Legislature begins a special session focused on the opioid crisis in Arizona. HB 2303 is not on the special session agenda, but adopting the bill would save money and reform Arizona’s drug sentencing laws by:
- Giving Arizona courts the option of using probation for most drug offenses
- Giving Arizona courts flexibility to give less prison time to drug offenders whose involvement in the offense was minor, or driven by addiction, mental illness, domestic violence, or trauma from military combat
- Lowering the felony classifications of drug offenses
- Excluding prior drug possession convictions from being used to trigger much lengthier prison terms for repeat offenders
- Increasing the amounts of drugs that trigger the lengthiest prison sentences
- Reducing the scope of drug-free school zones, which currently require long prison sentences for drug offenses, even if the crime occurred after school hours, in a private home, or without children present.
FAMM is a nonpartisan, national advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice reforms to make our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM promotes change by raising the voices of families and individuals who are directly affected by counterproductive sentencing and prison policies.
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