Advancing Bail and Pretrial Justice Reform in Arizona

Henry F. Fradella and Christine S. Scott-Hayward

Executive Summary

This Article assesses Arizona’s pretrial justice reforms to date and suggests some ways to further improve pretrial justice, to remedy the fact that 78.5% of the people held in the state’s jails have not been convicted of the crimes for which they were arrested, but rather are awaiting trial. This state of affairs undermines the presumption of innocence while unnecessarily costing the taxpayers of Arizona far too much money. Moreover, it threatens public safety on account of the criminogenic effects of pretrial detention. And finally, the state’s reliance on pretrial risk assessment instruments perpetuates racial and ethnic injustice in the state. The state can address these problems by adopting practices that increase fairness, decrease costs, improve public safety, and minimize racial disparities in criminal justice processes and outcomes.

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