Tags: US State Facts | Voting Rights | prison population | Arizona | trends

Prison Population Trends in Arizona Since 1994

By    |   Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 03:15 AM

The prison population in Arizona has climbed during the past two decades. During the past 10 years, it has shot up by 52 percent and costs the state almost $1 billion annually, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections (DOC).

Prison officials have requested an additional 3,000 beds, but with the current trend of rising prison populations, the state will need 20,000 beds over the next decade. Critics attribute this rise in the prison population to a law enacted in 1994, which they say needs to be evaluated to help lower the cost of the prison system in Arizona as well as help end the cycle of repeat offenders.

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One of the biggest problems with the incarceration rate in Arizona is the number of re-offenders ending up back in prison. From 1990-1999, those who were released from prison were re-incarcerated within three years. That trend continues with recidivism as a topic of discussion to help lower the cost of corrections in Arizona. In 2006, about 10 percent of the prison population was released only to have admissions to prison rise 15 percent.

Current critics of the Arizona DOC requesting money for more beds include Caroline Isaacs, program director of American Friends Service Committee. Isaacs said that Arizona can't afford to fund kindergarten through 12th grade education, so they shouldn't be looking at building a new prison or contracting with a new vendor to build a prison and house the state's inmate population, The Arizona Republic reported. Isaacs said Arizona needs to look at alternatives to incarcerations, like other states in the nation, to help combat the rising cost.

The state's "truth-in-sentencing" law requires inmates to serve 85 percent of their sentence before being considered for release. Since it went in effect in 1994, the prison population has climbed in the state. Isaacs, as well the Sentencing Project, suggested that the state needs to look at alternative treatments for nonviolent offenders, especially because the crime rate has been declining or remaining flat during the past several years, yet the prison population continues to increase.

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The prison population in Arizona has climbed during the past two decades. During the past 10 years, it has shot up by 52 percent and costs the state almost $1 billion annually, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections (DOC).
prison population, Arizona, trends
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2016-15-24
Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 03:15 AM
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