2:40 am in arizona department of corrections, donna leone, Featured, Headlines, legislative liaison, Local News, parolee, parolees, personal budgets, random drug testing, screening center, test fees, treatment assessment by PinkTeaPatriot
By: Alex Stuckey
Posted: July 29th, 2012
Arizona stands to save $500,000 a year under a new law that requires parolees to pay a portion of their drug-testing fees each month, but prisoner advocates fear the additional costs will strain personal budgets.
The law goes into effect Thursday, but Arizona Department of Corrections legislative liaison Jennifer Bowser said the state has yet to determine how much the parolee will pay and when the new requirement will actually be implemented.
“This change is an efficiency, cost-saving thing,” Bowser said.
Prisoner advocates fear the additional cost to parolees — who sometimes receive $50 upon release and can already be stretched thin by mounting fees for restitution, supervision and intensive parole — will leave many scraping for cash, said Donna Leone Hamm, executive director of Middle Ground Prison Reform.
“It’s difficult to find a job and housing, and now they want to tack on yet another cost,” Leone Hamm said.
Parolees who were charged with a drug-related offense or have a history of drug use must comply with random drug testing as part of their parole.
The Treatment Assessment Screening Center assigns parolees a color and each week announces which color will be tested. The 12 Arizona centers conduct all drug tests for the Department of Corrections.
The tests — nearly 230,000 in 2011 — cost the state about $500,000 per year, Bowser said.