A study by Daryl Fischer shows that 94 percent of Arizona state inmates are repeat or violent offenders. That "or" is important. "The myth that we're filling our prisons with first-time drug offenders is not true." Well sort of. It is generally true (with some notable exceptions) that people don't do prison time for non-violent drug possession.
But this hardly supports a lock-em-up mentality, which seems to be the goal of the study: "The state is getting its money worth for every tax dollar it spends on the prison system." I find that hard to believe. About 2,000 Arizona men and women are in prison for first-time non-violent offenders. And only 52 percent of state inmates have been convicted of violent offenses. That's nothing to be proud of. Not when the state's correctional budget is one billion dollars.