“I am not looking to be Maricopa County’s ‘Top Cop,’ as I still hear sometimes on the campaign trail, but its Chief Justice Enforcement Officer, guided by the best interests of the community as a whole. That means prioritizing public safety by aggressively prosecuting violent crimes, but it more importantly means ceasing to ‘throw the book’ at non-dangerous offenders, who often are struggling with mental health conditions and substance abuse.”
Will Knight 2020 – The Leadership We Need
Maricopa County is the fourth largest law enforcement jurisdiction in the country, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is one of the nation’s largest prosecuting agencies, responsible for over 60% of our statewide mass incarceration crisis. We are on track to spend nearly $1.1 billion dollars on our state prisons this year alone. Arizona’s 2019 Department of Corrections budget included significant salary increases for our private prisons, which are for-profit businesses publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange like Amazon and Google. And they did not make our communities safer. Crime rates are down and stable while our incarceration rate continues to soar just so we can warehouse more and more non-violent, non-dangerous petty offenders and those suffering under the weight of our many public health crises: Addiction and mental health.
Meanwhile, we just told Red for Ed that we simply can’t find a sustainable revenue source to make raises for teachers and educators a lasting reality or to reinvest in our crumbling public-school infrastructure.
With a commitment to shift our focus from jail profiteering and fear-based law enforcement toward fiscally responsible, restorative justice reform, we can shape a prosecuting agenda that keeps our communities safe by prioritizing dangerous crime, along with fairness, dignity, and fiscal responsibility, for Maricopa’s 4 million residents.
Our Platform of Meaningful Justice Reform: