PHOENIX — During today’s State of the State address, Governor Doug Ducey called for expanding Arizona’s successful efforts to provide those who serve their time real second chances. Launched in 2017, Second Chance Centers ease the transition back into society for those nearing release by offering resources that lead to job readiness, including job skills training, résumé and interview preparation, on-site job fairs, enrollment in health care, transportation services and more.
During today’s address, Governor Ducey said:
This year, we are doubling down on this successful model, investing in more educational programming so more individuals can get their opportunity at a better choice and a better life.
Since 2017, more than 3,900 of our fellow Arizonans have completed Second Chance programs, equipping them with the tools and skills to make a better life. More than 2,400 had a job upon release, with hundreds more in programs currently.
New funding included in Governor Ducey’s Executive Budget continues to expand educational opportunities by funding more personnel to address the current waiting list of inmates in need of mandatory literacy or special education classes. The budget also expands the prison braille transcription program to allow more inmates to participate, and to increase the number of textbooks for the visually impaired.
The Executive Budget also supports appropriating a portion of funds from the Medical Marijuana Fund to:
- Expand substance abuse treatment programming;
- Establish a student loan repayment program for substance abuse counselors providing services in a correctional setting;
- Add an employment specialist to work with inmates who were convicted of drug possession and who have successfully completed substance abuse treatment;
- And offer Medicaid “reach-in” programs for inmates convicted of drug possession nearing the end of their sentences, to ensure that medical providers are identified and scheduled prior to an inmate’s release from prison.
Governor Ducey also announced a name change for the Department of Corrections to better reflect its mission: The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry.
Announcing the change, Governor Ducey said:
The new Director, David Shinn, a Marine turned public servant. He’s dedicated his life to this noble cause, and he’s building on these efforts to transform our corrections system. And change how we think—and speak.