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Inmate sues state over deposit fees

Aided by a group advocating for prisoners’ rights, an inmate today challenged in Maricopa County Superior Court a provision of a new law that allows the Department of Corrections to deduct a fee on deposits made to prisoners’ bank accounts.

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Setting the record straight on sentencing

I am writing to correct a number of inaccuracies in the May 20 “special report” printed in your newspaper (“A push from the right: More conservatives joining fight to change sentencing guidelines”).  I am sure the reporter’s intention was to present a thorough examination of this important topic, but her final product was extremely one-sided and lacking in several important facts.  As the chief prosecutor for the 4 million residents of Maricopa County, I feel it is my duty to set the record straight.

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A push from the right: More conservatives joining fight to change sentencing guidelines

Since the late 1970s, rising crime has led lawmakers to require prison time for many non-violent offenses.

But some say eliminating the options of fines, work release, substance-abuse treatment and house arrest in favor of prison time can turn non-violent offenders into career criminals.

Now, as states face large budget deficits, calls for reforming sentencing for non-violent offenders also are coming increasingly from conservatives who call prison costs unsustainable.

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All is not lost: State never delivered financial incentive, but probation program found some success (access required)

The Legislature tried to give probation departments a financial incentive in 2008 to keep revocations and prison populations down.

However, lawmakers never came up with the money for the incentives. And this past session, lawmakers repealed the incentives program known as the Safe Communities Act (SCA). Even in the absence of the financial part, the program was considered a success by some because of the methods probation departments developed and refined during that time.

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