Arizona has the fifth highest imprisonment rate in the country and taxpayers spend more than $1 billion on the prison system every year. The prison population has grown by 60 percent since 2000 alone — nearly doubling the rate of general population growth — and taxpayers now spend more on prisons than higher education and other critical state budget priorities.
Without reform, Arizona will continue to fall behind the rest of the nation. Unfortunately, another legislative session just ended without meaningful change. If Arizona hopes to shed its title as a leading incarcerator, policymakers must act with urgency and not allow another year to pass without action.