Thursday, February 8, 2007
From azcentral.com: Facing burgeoning prison growth that will cost taxpayers billions over the next decade, Arizona has been selected to take part in a multimillion-dollar research project examining crime and prison trends and developing possible policy solutions.
The Council of State Governments' Justice Center announced Tuesday that Arizona was one of five states selected as part of the new initiative that will look for ways to curb prison population growth projected to be as high as 50 percent over the next decade. A new analysis unveiled to launch the research project shows that left unchecked, growth could cost taxpayers and additional $3 billion over the next decade. That's on top of a corrections budget that is approaching nearly $1 billion per year.
The Justice Reinvestment project, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Department of Justice, plans to release a detailed report on crime and prison trends and policy options for Arizona next month. The hope is that the report could help state officials find ways to address the root cause of crime and invest money in the most fruitful ways.
"There should be a discussion on what does the data show that will have the biggest impact on crime in the state," said James Austin, of the JFA Institute, a researcher for the project. "That's something that Republicans and Democrats agree we need to do before just doing more of the same." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]