Arizona Reduction for Prison Time Served, 85% to 65%

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Please consider signing this petition to reduce the mandatory sentence an inmate must serve before being considered for parole or probation in the state of Arizona. Arizona has some of the most harsh sentencing laws in the country, with every person who is incarcerated required to serve a MINIMUM 85 percent of their sentence. This has caused a large prison population and large state prison spending. The money spent on keeping an inmate incarcerated for 85 percent of their sentence can be used for greater purposes if we reduce the minimum percent to 65. This will allow funding for education for our children, road work for our roads, health care for our veterans, and so much more. Also, please consider, “Good Time Credits (Copper Time) - For offenses committed prior to October 1, 1978 (old code) - Good Time Credits are awarded upon completion of each calendar year served in prison pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) § 31-251. A deduction of two months in each of the first two years, four months in each of the next two years, and five months in each of the remaining years of the term shall be allowed.” This needs to be reinstated all inmates should be allowed to have their sentence reduced based on good time credits for their good behavior. This will give inmates an incentive to behave well, reducing riots and fights in both the jail and prison level. Reducing the minimum time served helps bring families back together sooner. Less time of an incarcerated loved one missing out on special events or missing a child’s or spouses birthday. 

Arizona spends $20,000 more annually on each inmate than it does on a student in its school system, a federal report said. The report from the U.S. Department of Education said, over the last three decades, the nation has increased penal spending at three times the rate of that spent on schools. Arizona is no different. In 2015, the state spent $3,573 per K-12 pupil and $23,441 per inmate.

In Arizona, prisons are a higher priority than education. In fact, they’re a 40% higher priority. About 10 years ago, the state spent 40% more on universities than on prisons, but these days, the tables have turned: Arizona now spends 40% more on prisons than universities. How did this happen? Prison funding has gone up by 75% in the last 10 years, while university funding has declined 11%. Experts say that this spending imbalance is largely related to who’s in prison, and how long they stay. All non-violent offenders in Arizona are required to serve at least 85% of their sentence. They’re the only state in the country to do so, and it’s a major factor in driving up prison costs.

We need to spend more money on our education system. That is the future of Arizona. Please consider changing the minimum amount served to 65%, for our future. Arizona can become a leader in the education if we turn the focus to our children. 

Thank you. 

Jasmine Jefferson 




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