What Ducey's State Of The State Means For Criminal Justice Reform In Arizona

By Mark Brodie, Lauren Gilger
Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 11:42am
Updated: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 2:00pm

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Khalil Rushdan ACLU Arizona Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel
Katie Campbell/KJZZ, Allister Adel
Khalil Rushdan and Allister Adel.

In his State of the State address on Monday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey touched on a number of criminal justice issues — including his announcement that the state would close the Florence prison and his decision to rename the Department of Corrections the Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry.

But criminal justice reform has been an issue that’s generated a lot of attention at the capitol in recent years, with not a lot to show for it.

Khalil Rushdan, community partnership coordinator with the ACLU of Arizona, was also formerly incarcerated. Rushdan joined The Show to give his assessment of what the governor had to say at the kick off of this year’s legislative session.

The Show also sat down with recently appointed Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel for her take on what the governor had to say about criminal justice reform, as well as some big news she made last week when she announced an overhaul of the county’s diversion programs.

These are the kinds of programs that give people facing prosecution for some non-violent crimes another route. If you’re arrested for drug possession, you can receive substance abuse treatment. If a mental health problem contributed to your arrest, you could get treatment. They’re meant to help non-violent offenders successfully rejoin society and avoid having a felony on their records for the rest of their lives.

Beginning in April, some offenders will have access to Adel's new Felony Diversion Program, which is designed around evidence-based practices and gets rid of some of the financial barriers that have kept people out of these kinds of programs in the past.

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