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New Study Shows Arizona Criminal Justice System Needs To Work Smarter

A new study on Arizona's criminal justice system has exposed a weakness in its "tough on crime" policies.

A study by the Arizona Town Hall association found Arizona has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country and, as a result, among the highest incarceration costs.

After 16 public meetings with citizens, law enforcement and prisoners around the state, the association released a study recommending the criminal justice system work smarter.

It called for system-wide changes to behavioral health and prison reform programs.

"We know from not only from the research, but all of the discussions we had with thousands of Arizonans around the state, that treating mental illness and substance abuse in more preventable ways, than putting somebody in prison, can have a much better outcome," said Tara Jackson with Arizona Town Hall.

She added that the state spends about a billion dollars a year on incarcerating its more than 33,000 convicted felons.

The study suggests spending more of those dollars toward prevention including job training, affordable housing and healthcare — including mental health and drug addiction programs.

Holliday Moore is a native Arizonan and veteran journalist who joined KJZZ’s news team in January 2017.Moore graduated from Arizona State University after double majoring in mass communications and marketing/management. She spent her first two decades reporting for television news, beginning in small markets and working up to congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., for a political news service.Family commitments in Arizona brought her back to the Southwest, where she covered legislative and court beats for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV and the infamous Four Corner Manhunt as KREZ-TV’s managing editor.Back home in Phoenix, she developed ABC15’s “Democracy Project,” now instituted at all Scripps’ news stations nationwide. Her work garnered “Best Practices” recognition by the Poynter Institute and the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.Her television reports, from sports to cultural issues, earned her multiple Emmy and Associated Press nominations, including a Rocky Mountain Emmy for her Hopi Partition Land Act coverage.As she started a family, Moore started her own media production agency, producing magazine-style travel stories for the Emmy-winning Arizona Highways Television show while working part time for a Valley radio station. She is convinced radio is where visual, sound, and print are merging through deeper storytelling. In her relatively short time with radio network affiliates, she has won four Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple nominations from other professional news societies.Moore now teaches advanced broadcast writing to the next generation of reporters at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where a high percentage have gone on to receive national awards for their work in her class. She enjoys being back home near childhood friends and sharing the beautiful Arizona desert with her husband and young son.