Ensuring Marijuana Reform Is Effective Criminal Justice Reform


Ensuring Marijuana Reform Is Effective Criminal Justice Reform

This essay discusses how Arizona should best advance marijuana legalization so that it can significantly improve Arizona’s criminal justice system. Now that Arizona has legalized marijuana via ballot initiative, we focus on steps that Arizona policymakers and advocates who are interested in improving the criminal justice system can take to ensure that legalization best advances this goal.

Arizona’s Sex Offender Laws: Recommendations for Reform

This article recommends ways to reform Arizona’s sex offender laws. It focuses first on laws designed to address the danger posed by convicted sex offenders: registration requirements, community notification, residence restrictions, and civil commitment.

Homelessness, Indignity, and the Promise of Mandatory Citations for Urban Camping

Custodial arrests for the crimes intrinsically connected to homelessness, such as urban camping, inflict needless indignity on Arizona’s homeless residents. Arizona has an estimated 10,000 individuals currently experiencing homelessness, nearly half of whom are unsheltered—living on the streets, in desert washes, in vehicles, or other places not meant for human habitation.

Reforming Sentencing Policies and Practices in Arizona

This article calls for sentencing reforms designed to slow the flow of people into prison, reduce both the number of persons now incarcerated and the lengths of sentences they are serving, and ameliorate unwarranted disparities in imprisonment.

Improving Criminal Justice Decisions

All government decisions matter. But few matter more than those involving the criminal justice system. These are not easy decisions. Nor do we expect public officials to always get them right. But given the high stakes and human consequences involved, we do have a legitimate expectation that these decisions will be made in the right way—that is, rationally, deliberately, and informed by expertise.

Safety, Crisis, and Criminal Law

This article argues that the overlapping crises of 2020 expose dysfunction in the way criminal law has defined and promoted safety. Simply put, reliance on detention and rigorous, though disproportionate policing and prosecution of minority communities has failed to promote safety in the face of a global pandemic and the killing of Black and Brown people by police.

Advancing Bail and Pretrial Justice Reform in Arizona

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.

Vulnerable and Valued: Protecting Youth from the Perils of Custodial Interrogation

This article advocates for judicial and legislative reforms that will ensure all youth are protected from the harms of coercive police interrogation. Drawing upon the substantial body of research on adolescent development and the growing body of research on racial bias and the experiences of youth of color, this article finds that current Arizona law leaves youth vulnerable to wrongful convictions and trauma caused by coercive interrogation practices.

Raising Arizona’s Commitment to Health and Safety: The Need for Independent Oversight of Arizona’s Prison System

Arizona’s correctional system has long been the subject of high-profile lawsuits, scandals, and other serious grievances that demand increased levels of transparency and accountability.

The Incentives of Private Prisons

A common criticism of private prisons is that they encourage the firms running them to cut services, programming, and training, since cutting costs maximizes profit, and the resulting increases in recidivism actually help keep prisons full and the payments coming in.