February 22, 2021
To: Members of the Arizona House of Representatives
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: ATR Supports HB 2713
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), and our supporters across Arizona, I urge you to support HB 2713, which would create an expanded earned release credits system for nonviolent offenders. This commonsense, conservative policy will improve public safety and save taxpayer dollars.
Earned release credits, similar to policies implemented in the successful federal First STEP Act, incentivize people in the prison system to prepare for reentry through job training and other programming. This promises to reduce the recidivism rate as people leaving the system are ready to contribute to their communities and find work.
The vast majority of people in prison will be released one day, it is in the interest of public safety, taxpayers, and the economy, that they are ready to rejoin society with employable skills.
Research suggests obtaining and keeping a job is a key factor in reducing the chance someone will reoffend, and the better the job, the better the outcome. Substance abuse treatment can be just as important, and combined with other programming, increases positive outcomes.
The states that have enacted similar reforms, like Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama, have saved millions of taxpayer dollars, and most importantly, seen crime rates decrease.
HB 2713 is perhaps the most conservative earned release credits program proposed in a state legislature. There are 59 violent, serious, aggravated, and sex offenses that would bar someone from earning additional credits under this bill, which is much more restrictive than the overwhelming number of states that offer similar credits across the country.
This legislation should earn bipartisan support, but Republican legislators in particular should jump at the opportunity to support this smart, but tough, reform bill, that is soft on Arizona taxpayers.
To bolster the effect of earned release credits, in the future lawmakers can pursue additional occupational licensing reforms to remove barriers to work for former offenders; and expand and automate expungement for people who prove they can stay on the straight-and-narrow to reduce collateral consequences that harm reintegration.
Americans for Tax Reform strongly supports HB 2713 and urges you to approve this bill.
Grover G. Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform