The Impact of Arizona's Probation Reforms
Arizona's Safe Communities Act of 2008 created performance incentives for probationers and the state's probation system. Offenders are able to earn time off their supervision periods by complying with their court-ordered conditions, and probation departments are offered part of the budgetary savings if they reduce revocations to prison.
In the wake of the new policies, and other efforts to implement evidence-based practices, new research by the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts finds that new felony convictions among probationers fell by 31 percent and revocations to prison fell by 28 percent over the last two years. And it is estimated that the decline in revocations to prison alone has saved the state $36 million that would have been necessary to house the additional prisoners.
This May 2011 issue brief by the Pew Center on the States explored how Arizona's innovative reforms have been able to show early signs of reducing the rate of prison growth while also making communities safer by decreasing crime by probationers.