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House bill gives non-violent offenders time off for classes

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Posted at 12:11 PM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 14:11:26-05

PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona House committee approved a proposal giving all non-violent state prisoners time off their sentences if they work or take drug treatment or major self-improvement courses.

Republican Rep. Walt Blackman has worked on the proposal for two years and has faced opposition from tough-on-crime lawmakers.

But the legislation he crafted passed the Judiciary Committee without opposition Wednesday and now heads to the full House for a vote.

Those serving time for drug-only offenses currently can get out after serving 70% of their sentences, but all others must serve at least 85% of their term. Blackman's proposal allows non-violent inmates to earn up credits that could cut their sentences to 65%.