Reforming Arizona
Criminal Justice

A collaborative project between the Academy for Justice
and the Arizona State Law Journal.

  Arizona State Law Journal

Reforming Arizona Criminal Justice (RACJ) is a collection of accessible articles on Arizona criminal law written by the nation’s leading scholars.

Criminal justice reform is a frequent topic of conversation in Arizona, and for good reason. In a nation that leads the world in incarceration, Arizona has the country’s fifth highest imprisonment rate. And the situation is even worse than it seems. Because a disproportionate number of those trapped in the Arizona criminal justice system are also among the most vulnerable: the poor, the underserved, and minorities. So now, more than ever, Arizonans believe that the state needs to rethink its approach to criminal justice. But even with this groundswell of support for change, it’s proven difficult to find consensus on reforms. Here’s an idea: what if we ask some of the nation’s leading scholars to see what evidence-based solutions they would recommend for Arizona? Welcome to RACJ, a collaborative project from the Academy for Justice and the Arizona State Law Journal.

4 Decades, 12x Prison Growth:

Arizona has the 5th highest imprisonment rate in the United States.

AZ prison
population in 1980:
3,456
AZ prison
population in 2019:
42,312

From 2000-2018, the 60% increase in Arizona’s prison population outpaced the 33% growth in the state’s residential population.

During this time, the property crime rate declined by 44% and the violent crime rate fell by 12%.


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