Senior Fellow, Charles Koch Institute
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Vikrant P. Reddy | October 22, 2012
In 2008, Arizona passed the Safe Communities Act, which authorized courts to adjust the sentences of probationers based on the recommendations of probation officers. The legislation also included performance incentives, which encouraged probation departments throughout Arizona to find better ways to ensure that probationers stick to the terms of their community supervision. Under the act, a portion of the savings from the probation improvements were returned to counties for reinvestment in drug courts, treatment, victims’ services, and criminal justice reforms. John Huppenthal is now the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, but in 2008, he was a Republican state senator who strongly supported the Safe Communities Act because it “create[d] a structure that gives [probationers] a really powerful incentive to stay clean, get a job and pay retribution to victims, to do a better job of avoiding the technical violations and to stay perfectly in alignment with what is a very tough probation.”
Since the act was signed into law, both revocations and new felony convictions have dropped in Arizona.