With the economic pitfalls of the past few years still tightening state budgets across the U.S., every dollar counts. There are many factors contributing to state budgets, and in Arizona, prison sentencing has become a hot topic in budget reform. A recent article in azfamily.com asks "Could sentencing reform save the state money, help justice system?"
According to the article, over 10 percent of Arizona’s state budget will go to corrections next year because of the increase of sentencing happening in the state. Mona Lynch, author of Sunbelt Justice has studied the Arizona state system and explains that this increase in sentencing happened because power was taken out of judicial hands and given to prosecutors. Lynch's book looks at the development of Arizona's punishment politics, policies, and practices, and brings to light just how and why we have become a mass incarceration nation. With her years of research in the area, Lynch suggests that the answer to the sentencing budget woes of Arizona lie not in being tough on crime but “’smart on crime’, spending dollars where they'll have the most impact.” With the state and nation’s budget the way it is, perhaps they’ll take her advice.