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Criminal Justice

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Prison Population, and Need for Officers, Continue to Grow

The economic recession is drastically reducing state revenues, but not Arizona’s state prison population. Starting the decade with 27,700 inmates, the prison system now holds just under 40,000. More inmates brings the need for more corrections officers, and Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) officials worry that likely cuts to the department’s nearly $1 billion budget will prevent them from hiring more staff.

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Arizona’s Criminal Justice

The Department of Corrections is charged with maintaining effective custody and control of just under 40,000 prisoners... We cannot do this without a well-trained staff.

— ADC Director Charles Ryan said in April.

Public safety and crime are issues of vital importance to all Arizonans. Social stability, individual freedoms, civil rights, and a thriving economy are commonly considered to be impossible without a reasonable expectation of personal safety, property security, and a robust network of enforced laws.

Levels of crime and disorder are thus widely recognized as affecting everyone’s quality of life, not just those directly victimized. In addition, the degree of effectiveness and fairness of the justice system help shape basic social values and legitimize public authority.

The data in this section are taken primarily from standard databases compiled annually by the FBI and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.