WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us President Todd Schulte issued the following statement after the Arizona State Legislature failed to consider meaningful sentencing reform ahead of last Friday’s deadline:
“We are disappointed that the Arizona State Legislature failed to consider bold sentencing reform in this legislative session, specifically House Bill 2270, sponsored by Representative Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake). HB 2270 was projected to move Arizona out of the top 10 imprisoning states by allowing people to earn their way home from prison sooner, by following the rules and participating in treatment.
“These reforms have deep and wide support across the political spectrum. Eighty-eight percent of Arizonans support reducing the time people serve behind bars for demonstrated good behavior and participation in rehabilitation programs. Many states across the country—including Mississippi and Louisiana—passed similar, successful reforms.
“While the Legislature’s refusal to hear HB 2270 is disappointing, there are still opportunities to pass important policies this session, including ending the unfair counting of priors for the repetitive offender law in House Bill 2361, restructuring the class six felony presumption in House Bill 2424, and allowing people convicted of low-level drug possession crimes to earn an additional 15 percent off their sentences in Senate Bill 1310. We are hopeful the Legislature will take up these important reforms.
“The fact is, without meaningful sentencing reform like HB 2270, Arizona will remain the fourth highest imprisoner in the country. FWD.us will continue to collaborate with partners across the state and the country to address Arizona’s imprisonment crisis, and we urge policymakers to do the same.”