My daughter, Jasmin, was 14 years old when she was murdered in 1999. The pain was unimaginably unbearable, but it also made me determined to prevent what happened to me to ever happen to anybody else. In recent weeks, I’ve been emboldened by the introduction and bipartisan support for several bills in the Arizona legislature that rethink public safety so that we end the cycle of violence that is impacting our communities.
Arizona currently has the fifth highest imprisonment rate in the nation – an approach that hasn’t made us any safer. We have an opportunity to join other states in adopting common sense reforms that prioritize rehabilitation, crime prevention, and support for crime survivors like me.
Addressing public safety is urgent for communities throughout the state that experience loss, violence, and trauma every day. These are communities that have been left behind by the current system. Many of these reforms include our priorities as survivors – they tackle the root causes of crime, reduce recidivism, and lead to cost savings that can be directed towards crime prevention.
These bills deserve a vote. They deserve to be taken seriously, because our lives depend on it.
Carol Gaxiola is a resident of Sahuarita, Arizona and a member of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.