Arizona's prison population grew by more than 50 percent between 1997 and 2007 and projections showed that it would rise by an additional 52 percent over the next 10 years. Without action, the state would need to add 20,000 prison beds at a cost of up to $3 billion. Analysis by the Council of State Governments Justice Center revealed that high rates of failure among people on community supervision were the primary driving factor behind prison growth.
Despite an extremely partisan political environment, the Arizona legislature passed the Safe Communities Act in May 2008 to strengthen evidence-based programs that are proven to reduce recidivism. The Act helped focus probation supervision on high-risk offenders and created incentives for county probation agencies to reduce crime and violations rather than revoke offenders into state custody.