WASHINGTON, DC — A new poll released today by FWD.us shows Arizona voters across the political spectrum support bold reforms to the state’s criminal justice system. Four out of five registered voters in Arizona believe it is important to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated and only one percent want to spend additional tax dollars on jails and prisons.
Arizona has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the country, and taxpayers will spend more than $1 billion on prisons this year. These findings come at a critical time for policymakers, with several related bills currently being considered by the legislature to address Arizona’s imprisonment crisis.
“The results are clear: Arizonans want criminal justice reform,” said FWD.us President Todd Schulte. “Lawmakers have strong support from their constituents across the idealogical spectrum to advance policies that will safely and significantly drive down incarceration and save taxpayer dollars.”
Broad bipartisan majorities support a number of specific reforms that lawmakers are considering this legislative session, including:
- 75 percent support “removing convictions from an eligible person’s record after they have completed the terms of their sentence, including probation and parole, and remained crime-free for a period of time.” (House Bill 2362, sponsored by Rep. Toma)
- 79 percent of voters support “allowing judges to determine the most appropriate punishment if they find that the mandatory minimum sentence is not justified based on the crime and individual.” (House Bill 2245, sponsored by Rep. Riverio)
- 88 percent support “allowing most people sentenced to prison to earn an additional 25 percent off their time behind bars if they maintain good behavior and participate in rehabilitation programs.” (similar to House Bill 2270, sponsored by Rep. Blackman)
The survey also found that support for criminal justice reform cuts across political party affiliations and demographic groups, with majority support for these and other policy proposals among Republicans, Independents and Democrats, as well as among victims of crime.
Public Opinion Strategies conducted this statewide survey of 800 registered voters in Arizona between January 8th and 10th, 2019. The poll has a margin of error of + 3.14 percent.