A major commercial and academic hub, Pima County is home to Tucson, the second largest city in Arizona. The county is approximately 9,200 square miles, has the second largest population of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas of the United States. Its population, which has nearly tripled since 1970 and is projected to reach 1.4 million by 2041, is almost one third Hispanic.
Pima County leadership has engaged in a series of successful collaborations in pursuit of local justice reform, such as the creation of a Crisis Response Center and Behavioral Health Pavilion to provide integrated care to those experiencing behavioral health crises and help them avoid unnecessary incarceration, as well as a Sheriff’s and Tucson Police Department’s Mental Health Support Team to coordinate responses with Pima County Behavioral Health and other law enforcement agencies. In addition, the county has spearheaded jail re-entry strategies and instituted programs to assess a defendant’s risk to reoffend and target specific interventions for medium-to-high-risk inmates. To continue building on past reform efforts, Pima County was awarded $1.8 million from the Safety and Justice Challenge in 2019 to invest in strategies that will further reduce the average daily jail population over the next two years.
The county will seek to safely reduce its jail population through the creation of a Probation Jail Reduction Committee to reduce the over-reliance of jail sanctions within the post-sentence supervision population. Efforts include the elimination of the use of automatic holds, issuing fewer and shorter coterminous sentences, and lowering the number of petitions to revoke. Additionally, a multi-disciplinary City/County committee including the courts, prosecution, defense, pretrial, and probation will launch a Jail Population Review Committee to identify misdemeanants and non-violent felony inmates held on pretrial or probation status who may be eligible for early release considerations.
Pima County’s 33-member Community Collaborative, impaneled in 2016, will continue to help guide its jail reduction strategies and provide additional outreach and education opportunities. The Collaborative members, who have broad experience with the criminal justice system, include formerly incarcerated men and women, family members impacted by incarceration, victim advocates, judges, law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, court personnel, and tribal representatives.