Today’s (April 13) story, “Winners and Losers,” regarding those who gained from legislative action at this year’s recently completed session and those who “lost” was telling.
Not one mention was made in the “lost” section of SB1390, which would have required the Department of Corrections to annually place up to 5,000 offenders in a transition program which has been shown to reduce recidivism and which saves the state millions of dollars in prison beds which are not needed if inmates are released in this program, up to 90 days in advance of their scheduled earned release credit date.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. (Steve) Pierce, passed with flying colors thru the Senate Public Safety and Appropriations Committees, but died before it ever made it to a floor vote. The Department of Corrections never supported the bill; their stance was “neutral.” This is curious for a government agency whose mission is public safety and whose record of rehabilitation is dismal for most of its other programs. Are they protecting jobs for prison guards? Feeling hemmed in – along with state legislators – who have guaranteed up to 100 percent occupancy rates in recent private prison contact?
One more “loser” needs to be added to your article’s list: the taxpayers of Arizona.
– Donna Leone Hamm is director of Middle Ground Prison Reform