PHOENIX, AZ - Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel has directed staff to find ways to reduce the number of individuals having to interact with our criminal justice system.
When charging cases, prosecutors are looking at the nature of the crime, the criminal history of an offender, and reviewing input from victims. They are then balancing this information with the need to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in this community. For those in custody but not yet adjudicated, this same approach is being taken on a case by case basis when responding to motions for modification of release conditions submitted by defense attorneys. Prosecutors are also collaborating with MCAO partners in the criminal justice system to take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to inmates currently in custody in county facilities.
“I have directed staff to take actions to reduce the spread of this disease through a reduction of those needing to interact with our criminal justice system,” stated County Attorney Allister Adel. “However, we will also continue to ensure that those who pose a danger and seek to harm others will be held accountable. COVID-19 does not mean that victims of domestic violence, children living with abusers, businesses who are burglarized, or other victims of crime should live in fear. We will continue to protect you and keep the safety of this community as our top priority.”
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone has announced the suspension of the Work Furlough and Work Release programs currently in place at Maricopa County Sheriff’s Jails as of 6 p.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020. In response, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is working with MCSO, the Superior Court and the Adult Probation Department to plan and support an effort to allow those currently in the work furlough program to remain at home during the suspension of this program.
These programs provide the opportunity for eligible offenders to maintain or seek employment outside of the jail, while also serving a jail sentence. Rather than hold these individuals already in these programs in custody, prosecutors and probation officers will seek to modify a probationers’ jail sentence pending the reinstatement of programs by Sheriff Penzone.
This action is not intended to reverse the original sentencing decision but rather provide a sensible solution to the health concerns posed by this pandemic. These individuals will continue to be supervised by Maricopa County Adult Probation.
Lowering the number of people being released each morning and reporting back to jail each night will reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 to those who are in custody. For additional information about the Maricopa County Work Furlough Program visit, https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/apd/work-furlough/.