March 9, 2020
To: The Honorable Doug Ducey, Governor of Arizona
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Re: Conservative Criminal Justice Legislation
Dear Governor Ducey,
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across Arizona, I urge you to support conservative criminal justice measures being considered in the legislature, including House Bill 2808, Senate Bill 1171, and Senate Bill 1556.
HB 2808, which passed the House unanimously, would improve public safety and reduce recidivism. It expands earned release credits to incentivize people who are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses to go through treatment and training, so they are better prepared to rejoin society.
Since the vast majority of people who are incarcerated will be released one day, making sure they are ready to become contributing members of the community is the smart – and right – thing to do. Following the model of the federal First STEP Act, states across the country are incentivizing programming and job training that prepare people in prison to become contributing members of society upon release.
This approach puts public safety first, since people leaving the system who are addicted to drugs, or who cannot find work, are more likely to recidivate and commit another crime. It is best for these former offenders, and the community, that they complete programming that prepares them for post-release life. It is also a win for taxpayers, as there are less people in prison, and crime goes down.
Studies show greater access to low wage jobs reduces recidivism, and that nonviolent property offenders are far less likely to recidivate if they are employed. Indiana’s Department of Corrections found employment status was closely tied to recidivism.
Addressing addiction and mental health is also critical for getting prisoners suffering from these problems on the right track. A White House Council of Economic Advisors report found mental health treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy, and substance abuse treatment can “reduce crime and incarceration costs simultaneously”… “when undertaken by an inmate suitable to the intended intervention.” These approaches return “$1.47 to $5.27 per taxpayer dollar spent for mental health and drug treatments” by reducing crime and incarceration costs.
Senate Bill 1171, which unanimously passed the Senate, is an important step for any efforts to improve the criminal justice system. It provides the information and transparency necessary so Arizonans know who is in the system and why, and will help lawmakers see what policies are working and which are not.
Senate Bill 1556 would better protect the property rights of people in civil asset forfeiture proceedings who did not commit a crime, and did not knowingly involve themselves in a crime.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 202-785-0266.
Grover G. Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform