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New Arizona law on sealing criminal records may help some renters, but there are limitations

A new Arizona law which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023, will give people a chance to seal their criminal records, under certain circumstances - but the complexity of the process and longevity of online information may hinder its impact.... Read more»

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'The trouble with time served' — How pre-trial detention punishes the innocent

Crediting people for time served — giving criminal defendants “credit” against their sentence for the time they spend detained pretrial — is a deceptively harmful practice that punishes innocent people.... Read more»

'These are people, too': Nonprofit helps ex-inmates get health care

The return to society after spending time behind bars is difficult, so organizations such as the Yavapai Reentry Project and Building Promise work to provide access to health care and resources to help with housing, job training, and health counseling.... Read more»

Pretrial detention increases long-term risk to public safety

Holding most individuals accused of an offense in jail for any length of time before trial may not guarantee the safeguards that many people assume detention provides, and in most cases pretrial detention can increase the likelihood of an individual becoming involved in criminal behavior.... Read more»

Juvenile offenders given a leg up by bipartisan-approved Arizona House measure

Kids in juvie might see their financial load lightened, thanks to new legislation approved by the state House of Representatives that would eliminate the rollover of court fees on them and their families.... Read more»

ASU study: De-escalation training helps cops learn how to stay safe

De-escalation training is more likely to improve police-civilian interactions when it’s perceived by cops as a way to keep them safe on the job, according to an Arizona State University study in conjunction with the Tempe police force.... Read more»

States weigh how to shield election officials from threats, harassment

Following the turmoil of the 2020 election, election officials across the country have faced threats and harassment, but attempts to include them as a protected category under harassment statutes - raising charges from a misdemeanor to a felony - have has run into opposition.... Read more»

A 'fair and speedy trial' is a pipe dream for many poor Americans

While most Americans believe arrested people go to court soon after their arrest, Constitutional guarantees of a “fair and speedy trial” are infrequently honored in our under-resourced criminal justice system.... Read more»

Ducey's budget would spend $14.25 billion next year

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s final budget calls for $14.25 billion in spending for the 2023 fiscal year that includes nearly $1.4 billion in new spending, the bulk of which will be spending on K-12 education, water infrastructure, beefing up the state’s rainy day fund and expanding I-10. ... Read more»

Black Lives Matter, pandemic inequalities drive racial impact laws

More states are trying to assess the racial impact of new laws, as the consciousness of many legislators has been raised by the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on minorities. ... Read more»

When your criminal case Is dopped, but your mugshot lives forever

As the country debates the path forward for criminal justice reform, the practice of running digital mugshot galleries of arrestees, and the long-lasting harm caused by law enforcement agencies’ practice of publishing booking mugshots online, has largely flown under the radar.... Read more»

Arizona wildfire prevention gets boost from behind bars with expanded program

Arizona's $24.5 million Healthy Forest Initiative will allow a long-running program that lets the Department of Forestry and Fire Management use inmate crews to do forest maintenance to add as many as 700 more inmates to help battle wildfires.... Read more»

Arizona Gov. Ducey signs bill requiring conviction before seizure of assets

Under a landmark bill reforming Arizona’s civil asset forfeiture laws signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies will no longer be permitted to permanently seize people’s property for alleged criminal wrongdoing without actually convicting them of a crime.... Read more»

Committee bypasses roadblock to revive and pass sentencing reform bill

A multi-year push to loosen Arizona’s strict sentencing laws was resurrected Tuesday, despite the resistance of a key Senate Republican who refused to hear the bill. The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would allow drug offenders to get out of prison after serving half of their sentences, and other nonviolent offenders to earn up to a third off their sentences. ... Read more»

Incremental movement on Arizona justice reform, but 'the big stuff is toast' in 2021

Several noteworthy criminal justice reform bills are working their way through the legislative process, but a major sentencing reform proposal that advocates have spent three years pushing is among the legislation that appears destined to fall short. Thursday is the deadline for Senate committees to hear House bills, and vice versa. And the final Senate Judiciary Committee agenda before the deadline hits has some notable omissions.... Read more»

Ducey signs sequel to repeat-offender bill he vetoed in 2019

First-time offenders who commit multiple felonies on different dates will get lighter sentences after Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation similar to a bill he vetoed two years ago. ... Read more»

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