FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28, 2017
Contact: Caroline Isaacs, Program Director
520.256.4146 (cell); email@example.com
Missing: A Statewide Reentry Plan for Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona – On Nov. 27th, the Arizona House Democratic Caucus and prominent members of the Phoenix community hosted a press conference to express their opposition to Governor Ducey’s proposed plan to relocate the only reentry facility in Maricopa County from a predominantly white and affluent community to a lower income, predominantly minority community.
While we share the concern that the decision to move the Community Corrections Center from North Phoenix to the Tent City site is both racially motivated and shifts an economic burden on a community that is already struggling, it is critical that our discussion of these issues does not contribute to the perception of formerly incarcerated people as dangerous or undesirable. Instead of countering one “not in my backyard” effort with another, we urge everyone involved to focus on the need for all communities to create welcoming spaces for people returning from prison, and the responsibility of the state to provide the resources and infrastructure to support that effort.
That is why the American Friends Service Committee—Arizona is calling upon Governor Ducey, the Arizona Department of Corrections, and all community partners to work together to envision a comprehensive, multifaceted, statewide reentry program, with a targeted and evidence-based approach for assessing the unique needs and resources of each and every community in Arizona.
The problem of recidivism is complex, so our solutions cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. While we applaud the Governor’s dedication to reducing recidivism, the proposed Community Corrections Center is not the only— or even the best—way to support people being released from prison. In fact, the secure residential nature of the facility raises the question of whether these programs are truly reentry or “prison lite,” keeping individuals under the control of the Department of Corrections when they could otherwise be living independently in the community.
The controversy surrounding the proposal provides a unique opportunity to take a step back and engage all stakeholders in a more thoughtful and comprehensive assessment of what a successful statewide reentry system would look like. Where are our limited resources best invested to create the greatest public safety outcomes? How could we envision reentry programs and services that benefit the entire community?
The responsibility of providing rehabilitative services is on all of us. When we help those formerly incarcerated with a bridge to honest work, we ALL benefit from the outcome. Previously incarcerated persons are not a blight
on the community. They are our friends and family, and each community shares the responsibility of helping them with their reentry into society.
Reentry programs and services are sorely needed. State leaders should work together with all impacted communities and stakeholders to expand these services across the entire state. We urge lawmakers to halt the current relocation proposal and engage in a robust effort to devise a comprehensive reentry plan to expand services across the County and State.
American Friends Service Committee, Arizona (AFSC Arizona)
works to reduce the prison population and improve conditions for
incarcerated people in Arizona using research and documentation, advocacy, and policy reform to advance sentencing reform, halt
prison expansion and improve conditions of confinement.
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