The ACLU of Arizona does not endorse or oppose candidates.
Commitments on this page were gathered from the ACLU of Arizona candidate questionnaire, town halls, candidate’s websites, and other public statements made on the campaign trail. To submit a statement for consideration, email
[email protected] Smart Justice Value: Decarceration
Policy: Set a Specific Decarceration Goal
Julie Gunnigle “My goal would be to bring Maricopa County’s incarceration rate in line with the national average over the course of four years…this…would represent an almost 26% reduction in our prison population.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Tamika Wooten “I will reduce the Maricopa County prison population by 50%.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Will Knight “My goal is to reduce Maricopa County’s contribution to the mass incarceration crisis by half.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Policy: Expand programs that will divert people away from prison
Ryan Tait “All drug possession offenses will be handled through diversion because data suggests that prison is one of the least effective and most expensive means to curb substance abuse.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Allister Adel “One of my first priorities in office was to remove barriers to diversion…I am currently working on two initiatives at the Arizona State Legislature to expand diversion.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Bob McWhirter “I will seek to immediately…increase diversion programs to ease the pressure on our prison system, decrease the recidivism rate, and save the taxpayer. “ Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Tamika Wooten “I will offer diversion for all non-victim and non-violent crimes to address mental health and addiction issues.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Julie Gunnigle “We will create and expand diversion offerings so that drug crime (and drug motivated crime) are diverted from the criminal justice system and into appropriate treatment.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Will Knight “We will create broad new diversion programs that we can tailor to the underlying causes of each individual offender.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Smart Justice Value: Challenge racism within the criminal justice system
Policy: Make a plan to combat racism in the criminal legal system
Ryan Tait “I will implement a data collection and reporting system that addresses the degree of this disparity with precision and apply modified policies to bring charging decisions and sentencing outcomes into parity between races.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Bob McWhirter “I will completely review all charging policies to confront the massive systemic inequities. This includes setting policy to decline cases with racial bias.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Will Knight “I will build a walled off “intake division” to accept referrals, conduct background investigations, and redact suspects’ names and other indicators of race and ethnicity in order to remove the possibility of implicit bias driving any charging or initial settlement posture determinations.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Tamika Wooten “I will continue to hold law enforcement accountable for illegal contact with members of the community by dismissing cases where the reason for the contact was racially motivated.” Source: ACLU-AZ Candidate Questionnaire Julie Gunnigle “The war on drugs is a significant driver of the racial divide in policing and prosecution. We need to invest in significant diversion and deflection practices and work to end mandatory minimums that needlessly and disproportionately imprison communities of color.” Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire
Smart Justice Value: Increase Transparency
Post data and policies online
Smart Justice Value: Build Trust Between Law Enforcement and Community
Creating an Independent Prosecuting Unit To Investigate Police Misconduct Cases
Tamika Wooten “…I will create a specialized unit with seasoned attorneys and investigators who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity, inclusion and justice to investigate officer-involved shootings, use of force and officer misconduct.” Source: ACLU-AZ Candidate Questionnaire Ryan Tait “Only by collecting a diverse body of people, that are not connected to law enforcement directly that are involved, can we make a fair assessment of when these allegations of misconduct should be brought to charges.” Source: Jan. 30 Candidate Town Hall Julie Gunnigle “I am committed as a day-one, minute-one priority to an independent group of prosecutors that does not rely day-to-day on those same officers that they would seek to prosecute when they commit misconduct.” Source: Jan. 30 Candidate Town Hall Will Knight “We could have [AZ Post Certified Investigators]…serve as an independent investigating body for those rare situations where that needs to happen.” Source: Equality Arizona Interview, Jan. 21, 2020. Bob McWhirter ” …this should be an independent part of the office not beholden to any police agenda. Any misconduct of law enforcement should have special review including involvement from members of the community and well-regarded former police officers. “ Source: ACLU-AZ Questionnaire Smart Justice Value: Champion Reform at the Legislature
Policy: Proactively support legislation that will reduce the prison population and vigilantly oppose legislation that creates new crimes or increases sentences.