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FAMM releases statement following Arizona House vote on earned release credits bill
PHOENIX – FAMM Vice President of Policy Molly Gill released the following statement after the Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow people in prison for drug and nonviolent offenses to earn up to 50 or 30 percent off their sentences, respectively, for completing rehabilitative programs in prison.
“This bill incentivizes people in prison to rehabilitate themselves, which is just common sense,” Gill said. “It will reunite thousands of families sooner and save taxpayers millions in prison costs. All of us are safer and better off when rehabilitated people come home to be parents again, spouses again, employees again, taxpayers again.
“This is a responsible reform that, if anything, is too modest – many people will not be able to reduce their sentences under this bill, so there is still more reform needed. This bill is the product of years of hard work and negotiation by Rep. Blackman and Sen. Mesnard. The Senate and governor shouldn’t miss this opportunity to save millions and make people safer. They should pass the bill in these final days of the legislative session.”
The bill is a much narrower version of an earned release credit ballot initiative that did not gather enough signatures to make it onto the 2020 ballot. Arizona is one of only three jurisdictions that requires virtually all people in its state prisons to serve 85 percent of their sentences, regardless of their rehabilitation while incarcerated.
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 at the state and federal level 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.