Weekly Update

2020 Weekly Update: March 13th

So much has happened this week, there isn’t even enough cyberspace for all of it! Between legislative debates, an ADC confirmation hearing, and a pandemic you might have heard about, we’ve got a lot to cover and a short time to get there.

Coronavirus

What can you do to help people who are incarcerated in Arizona’s prisons? Most importantly, you should arm yourselves with information.

Today, AFSC-Arizona launched this COVID-19 resource page on our website. You’ll find a Fact Sheet for the Incarcerated that you can print out and send to your friends and loved ones; the latest news on the pandemic; and our most recent blog post about what it’s like on the inside at a moment like this, written by John Fabricius, one of our ReFraming Justice Leaders.

Short Survey

Information is our greatest ally, so we’re asking everyone who has an incarcerated family member to fill out this short questionnaire about the conditions inside. Your answers will help us to more effectively advocate on your and their behalf. 

Sign Petition

Even with lives in the balance, we must apply pressure to state leaders and ADC administrators to do the right thing. Show them our strength in numbers by signing our Change.org petition, and be sure to share the petition on your social media platforms accompanied by the hashtag, #DecarcerateCOVID19.


Dude, Where’s My ERC Reform?

Today, Rep. Walt Blackman asked people to reach out to his colleagues to demand that HB 2808 receives a hearing in the state Senate. The bill is assigned to the Senate Judiciary committee. Unfortunately, state Sen. Eddie Farnsworth, the committee chair, does not have a record of listening to his constituents. Therefore, we are asking you to contact your respective state Senator, and ask them to get Farnsworth to put it on the agenda. 

Find your Senator here: https://www.azleg.gov/findmylegislator/

You can also call Gov. Ducey and ask him to reaffirm his pledge to reduce recidivism and promote rehabilitation by announcing his support for HB 2808.

Call Ducey – 602.542.4331 
Email Ducey – engage@az.gov


No Mandatory Minimums!

We also need your help in stopping one bill that would further criminalize already marginalized communities and create ineffective mandatory minimum sentencing schemes.

HB 2538 increases punishment for assault charges when the incident occurs specifically with health care workers. It will be heard in the Senate Health & Human Services committee on Wednesday, March 18. You can contact the committee members and ask them to VOTE NO and explain:

  • No person should ever have to fear harm, but HB 2538 is overly broad and redundant in the criminal code.
  • Mandatory minimum sentencing does not work and has contributed to mass incarceration in Arizona. HB 2538 would introduce another mandatory minimum that targets vunerable populations. 
  • Health care workers are so important to our community and we should ensure their safety. Criminal punishment, however, does not achieve this goal. We should focus on addressing substance abuse disorder, mental health issues, and workers rights instead.

Senate Health and Human Services Committee

MemberPhoneEmail
 Kate Brophy McGee, Chair (602) 926-4486 kbrophymcgee@azleg.gov
 Heather Carter, Vice-Chair (602) 926-5503 hcarter@azleg.gov
 Sylvia Allen (602) 926-5409 sallen@azleg.gov
 Rick Gray (602) 926-5413 rgray@azleg.gov
 Tony Navarrete (602) 926-4864 tnavarrete@azleg.gov
 Tyler Pace (602) 926-5760 tpace@azleg.gov
 Rebecca Rios (602) 926-3073 rrios@azleg.gov
 Victoria Steele (602) 926-5683 vsteele@azleg.gov

In The News…

The Coronavirus Could Spark a Humanitarian Crisis in Jails and Prisons
March 11th, 2020 by Premal Dharia, via Slate

Arizona jails, prisons make preparations to prevent spread of coronavirus
March 11th, 2020 by Premal Dharia, via Slate

Are Prisons Doing Enough to Prevent Coronavirus Outbreak?
March 11th, 2020 by Premal Dharia, via Slate

March 12th, 2020 by Brenna Ehrlich, via Rolling Stone


 Know Your Bills! 

Let your representatives know that you support Sentencing Reform in Arizona!

HB2808: prisoners; release credits.

Increases earned release credits fro for people not convicted of a violent or aggravated felony per ARS 13-706 and who complete specific work or major programming in ADC.

**An amendment was added that prevents Functional Literacy and GED classes from counting as programming for earning time. AFSC-AZ does not support this amendment.**


Assigned to Senate Judiciary – awaiting committee hearing date.
HB2893sealing arrest; conviction; sentencing records.

Allows the sealing of conviction histories after a certain period of time, and based on the following tiers:
1.  TEN YEARS FOR A CLASS 2 OR 3 FELONY.
2.  FIVE YEARS FOR A CLASS 4, 5 OR 6 FELONY.
3.  THREE YEARS FOR A CLASS 1 MISDEMEANOR.
4.  TWO YEARS FOR A CLASS 2 OR 3 MISDEMEANOR.
AND 
1.  IF THE PERSON HAS ONE HISTORICAL PRIOR FELONY CONVICTION, AN ADDITIONAL FIVE YEARS.
2.  IF THE PERSON HAS TWO HISTORICAL PRIOR FELONY CONVICTIONS, AN ADDITIONAL SEVEN YEARS.
3.  IF THE PERSON HAS THREE OR MORE HISTORICAL PRIOR FELONY CONVICTIONS, AN ADDITIONAL TEN YEARS.
A person whose record is sealed means their arrest, conviction, and incarceration information is not public record, but remains available to law enforcement and courts.

Was not heard in committee, will not move forward in bill process.
HB2236deferred prosecution program; definition.

Removes restrictions from deferred prosecution programs. Law currently allows prosecutors to prevent people who have previous or specific convictions from being able to avoid prison.

Assigned to Senate Judiciary – awaiting committee hearing date.
SB1171: criminal justice case information; reporting.

Provides a detailed structure of criminal justice data that must be collected and made public by the Attorney General and County Prosecutors offices.  Includes basic demographics and variables of prosecutors practices to understand where there may be biases in the system. This will help create better criminal justice policies. 
HB2250grants; behavioral health treatment services.

Establishes a community treatment and safety fund that will appropriate money for treatment to prevent incarceration, as well as after incarceration to help reduce recidivism. These funds are specifically allocated to the Department of Health Services, not the Department of Corrections. 

Awaiting committee hearing.
HB2608: overdose and disease prevention programs; requirements; standards.

Establishes harm reduction program for cities, towns, counties and NGOs that would provide needle exchanges, overdose prevention and peer support services, while reducing the risk of needle stick injuries to law enforcement. 

Assigned to Senate Health and Human Services committee – awaiting committee hearing date.
HB2045: correctional health services; prohibited contracts.

Prohibits the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) from contracting with private vendors to administer medical, mental health and dental care to incarcerated people beginning in June 2021 and transfers that responsibility back to ADC. 
HB2087 probation; technical violations; reinstatement

Allows for a reinstatement of probation when a technical violation occurs (not a new crime) instead of revocation to prison.

Assigned to House Judiciary on February 19th at 8:30am.
HB2234: sentencing; aggravating circumstances

Makes technical fixes to clarify the intent of the statute, but does not make a substantial change toward sentencing reform.
 
Passed in House Judiciary on February 5th. Awaiting House Floor vote.
HB2383: sentencing ranges; minimum; maximum; repeal

Makes technical fixes to “clean up” sentencing ranges prescribed by statute, while maintaining existing minimum, presumptive, and maximum sentencing levels. Removes some language that prosecutors can use to more easily elevate a charge to aggravating.
 
Assigned to House Judiciary on February 19th at 8:30am.
HB2755: schools; drug violations; reporting options

Allows school authorities to bypass law enforcement and instead move a student to a treatment program if they are caught with drugs in a drug free school zone.
 
Assigned to House Judiciary on February 19th at 8:30am.
SB1556 civil asset forfeiture; conviction; procedures

Requires a person to be convicted, with exceptions, before property that is seized and subject to forfeiture may be forfeited and makes corresponding changes to judicial proceedings. Modifies permissible use of Anti-Racketeering Revolving Fund monies.
 
Passed in House Judiciary on February 13th. Awaiting House Floor vote. 
HB2069: corrections oversight committee; ombudsman; duties.

Good: Establishes a much-needed oversight committee to hold ADC accountable.

Bad: Includes ADC director and excludes directly impacted people. 

Was not heard in committee, will not move forward in bill process.
HB2036: fentanyl; heroin; carfentanil; mandatory sentencing.

Establishes 10- and 15-year mandatory minimum sentences for people who sell heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids. It removes options for probation and community treatment, and does not allow judicial discretion. 

This bill is currently held, but may reappear in the Senate.
HB2140: prisoner injuries; monetary judgments; reimbursement.

Would require people who have been incarcerated to pay back medical care costs from their time in prison, even when the expense comes from negligence by the prison or their contracted labor company. If a person does not pay the fees they are at risk of being ineligible for rights restoration. 

Assigned to Senate Transportation and Public Service Committee- awaiting committee hearing date.
SB1172: sex offender registration; requirements; vehicles.

Increases surveillance forms for people who are convicted of sex offenses and reduces time period for people who are homeless to re-register from every 90 days to every 30 days.

Will be heard on Wednesday, March 18th, in the House Judiciary Committee. Call your Representative and tell them to VOTE NO on the floor!
HB2299: unlawful food or drink contamination
Makes it a Class 6 felony if someone does a stupid internet stunt.
 
Passed in House Judiciary on February 5th. Awaiting House Floor vote.
HB2538: health care workers; assault; prevention
Increases punishment for assault charges when the incident occurs specifically with health care workers. Creates increased criminalization of vulnerable populations. 

Will be heard on Wednesday, March 18th, in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Call the committee and tell them to VOTE NO.d committee assignment. 

In the meantime, you can start to build momentum for commonsense ERC reform by uploading AFSC-AZ’s #ERCReformAZ Facebook photo frame and telling your families, friends and followers that the 85% rule is failing our communities. Click here to upload yours now!


If your reform efforts are focused on achieving real accountability from ADC, you can upload AFSC-AZ’s #CitizensOversightAZ Facebook photo frame. Click here!

Categories: Weekly Update

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