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Using seized funds for prisoner study a legal gray area, says civil rights attorney

Posted by   /  August 11, 2017  /  No Comments

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By Ben Giles | Arizona Capitol Times

Profits from seized property are paying for the latest update to a study of Arizona’s prison population that prosecutors use to argue Arizona’s sentencing laws are working appropriately.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is providing the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council with $34,500 to complete the study. Those funds will pay for the services of John Lott, an economist and pro-gun advocate. Lott will review data provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections to update the Prisoners in Arizona report, first published in 2010. The report uses data provided by DOC to determine who’s in prison and for what reasons.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said the funds come from his office’s RICO account, which comes from seized criminal funds. The payment is a sharp increase from what it cost for the last update of the report, when APAAC spent $14,000.

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