May 27, 2016

MacArthur Foundation Safety + Justice Challenge

It costs Pima County taxpayers approximately $59 million each year to house inmates in the Pima County Jail.  Because of this high cost, Pima County has been exploring alternatives to incarceration.
Last year, the Pima County Attorney’s Office joined with the Pima County Administrator, the Sheriff’s Department, the Courts, Pretrial Services, the Probation Department, and the Indigent Defense Office to secure a grant to explore ways to reduce the local jail population, while continuing to protect the community from violent and dangerous offenders.  Pima County was one of 190 jurisdictions nationwide that competed for funding from the MacArthur Foundation, and one of only 20 that received a first round of funding in the amount of $150,000. Pima County used this initial $150,000 to analyze data relating to the Pima County Jail population to develop a plan that would reduce the jail population and eliminate racial disparities. In April, Pima County was notified that we are one of only 11 jurisdictions to win grant funding in the amount of $1.5 million for implementation of our plan.
Jail is different from prison. The prison system is run by the State of Arizona Department of Corrections and houses individuals convicted of serious, felony crimes who are sentenced to more than one year of confinement.  A study of the Arizona prison population revealed that most prison inmates are violent, dangerous, and seriously repetitive felony offenders.  By contrast, the jail, run by Pima County, houses individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial, as well as individuals who have been convicted of lower level, misdemeanor crimes and sentenced to confinement for less than one year.  The jail also houses individuals who have been sentenced to probation for felony offenses but violated the conditions of their probation or were sentenced to jail as a term of probation.  
The study showed that many inmates in the Pima County Jail, especially those awaiting trial, are non-violent and non-dangerous individuals with mental health problems or substance abuse issues. One of the reasons they are being held in the jail while awaiting trial is that they had been arrested but failed to appear for court hearings.  So, the court imposed bail to ensure their appearance, but those inmates were unable to pay the cost of a bail bond due to poverty.
The study also showed that about 4% of inmates are on work release whereby they are permitted to leave the jail during the day for work, but must return to spend the night in jail, or they spend only weekends in jail. The jail must hold a spot for each inmate every day for the duration of his/her sentence until the sentence has been completed, which is expensive.

In addition, the study revealed that the Pima County Jail has a disproportionately high percentage of Native Americans and African Americans compared to the general population.
After analyzing all the data and obtaining community input from affected stakeholders, Pima County’s criminal justice agencies came together and developed a Strategic Plan for reducing the overall jail population and eliminating racial disparities in the jail population.
This Strategic Plan has three parts:
  1. Court System Innovations and Treatment Alternatives - includes evidence-based risk screening and behavioral health/substance abuse screening for all individuals booked into the jail before their Initial Appearance, with recommendations for release from the jail to treatment as appropriate, along with direct and immediate access to treatment as an alternative to jail.
  2. Reducing the Incidence of “Failure to Appear” - by implementing reminder systems and offering more accessibility to court through a variety of means.
  3. Using Home Detention and Electronic Monitoring - as a substitute for residence in the jail at night with work release during the day.
The plan is expected to reduce the jail population by as much as 20% over the next two years.  It costs Pima County $85.15/day per inmate for housing in the jail. The average daily jail population is approximately 1,900, amounting to a cost to the county of $161,785/day.
Implementation of Pima County’s Strategic Plan is expected to result in a reduction of the number of non-violent, non-dangerous individuals held in the jail, including Native Americans and African Americans. This plan, while ensuring justice for incarcerated individuals and maintaining public safety, could save taxpayers millions of dollars per year.

To learn more about Pima County's award of a $1.5 million Safety + Justice Challenge grant, please attend the Pima County community meeting on June 2, 2016, from 3-5 p.m. at the YWCA at 525 N. Bonita Avenue.
PCAO's Alternatives to Incarceration

Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison (DTAP)

In January 2011, the Pima County Attorney’s Office established the Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison (DTAP) Program designed to reduce drug addiction and related crime. Through DTAP, the Pima County Attorney and Superior Court in and for Pima County offer a special sentencing alternative to non-violent, drug-addicted individuals who have committed multiple felony drug offenses, making them automatically prison-bound upon conviction.

This sentencing alternative allows these individuals to avoid prison and instead go into residential drug treatment for 90 days, followed by transitional housing, and thereafter into independent living in the community, all while undergoing special probationary supervision with ongoing drug-monitoring and regular court appearances.  While on probation, these individuals receive case management and wraparound recovery support services, including job training and job placement, transportation, education, counseling, relapse prevention, long-term management skills, peer support, mentoring, and life skills, among other services.

Two independent cost-benefit studies have shown that DTAP costs less than half the cost of prison.  It saved more than $1 million for taxpayers in just the first two years of operation.  Meanwhile, the program has had a rolling success rate of approximately 70%.  It is a proven solution for reducing crime, saving money, and, most important, saving lives. For more information about DTAP please visit:

These individuals have been in the DTAP Program for more than a year and have been promoted from intensive DTAP Probation to Standard Probation. Some have graduated from probation altogether.

Juvenile Diversion

The Pima County Attorney's Office authorizes diversion from prosecution and the ability to avoid detention for first and second-time, non-violent juvenile offenders who have committed low level crimes, such as minor in possession of alcohol, marijuana possession, shoplifting, or graffiti. There are three juvenile diversion programs. 

1. Community Justice Boards

Community Justice Boards, created by Barbara LaWall in 1998, use an innovative strategy that holds juvenile offenders accountable without sending them through the judicial system, and, at the same time, works to transform their lives. 

Community Justice Boards evolved from an idea Ms. LaWall had to create a community outreach unit to develop programs that would empower neighborhoods to deal with public safety issues and quality of life crimes. The Boards are made up of volunteers from the community, actively involved in the lives of youth who live in the same area and who have committed crimes such as stealing or vandalism (first and second-time juvenile misdemeanor offenses and status offenses).  In order to participate, juveniles agree to appear before (and accept the consequences of) the Board rather than going through the criminal justice system.  The Boards help to make the community a better place to live. They teach accountability and show youth a life that can be lived without crime.  Parents and guardians see very positive changes in their children and teens who have participated in the program. The Boards have a success rate of approximately 90%. In addition, because of the work the Boards perform, the Pima County Attorney’s Office is able to divert a significant number of cases from the over-burdened juvenile court system. Community Justice Boards allow prosecutors, courts, and treatment personnel to concentrate efforts on more serious juvenile offenders.  Equally important, juvenile offenders receive the necessary attention to create the potential for positive life changes. In December 2015, the Community Justice Boards were recognized by the Harvard Kennedy School as an important innovation in American Government.  

For more information please visit:


2.  Juvenile Diversion Probation Department
The Pima County Attorney also supports the referral of non-violent, non-dangerous juvenile offenders to the Juvenile Diversion Program run by the Probation Department. This program, similar to Adult Diversion, offers first-time juvenile offenders an alternative to prosecution and detention. For more information about this program, visit: or call (520) 724-5600.
3.  Teen Court
The Pima County Attorney also supports the referral of non-violent, non-dangerous juvenile offenders to Teen Court, a program run by Pima Prevention Partnership.  Teen Court assigns constructive consequences to the juvenile offender that are designed to help the youth better understand the impact of his/her behavior, repair harm caused, and make better choices in the future. This program offers first-time juvenile offenders an alternative to prosecution and detention.  For more information about this program visit:,, or call (520) 724-5600.

Pima County Attorney's Adult Diversion Program 

The Pima County Attorney’s Office may offer diversion to adults who are charged for the first or second time with certain misdemeanor or felony offenses. The Diversion Program will help defendants avoid prosecution if they admit guilt and comply with all conditions of the Program.  Successful completion of the Diversion Program will result in dismissal of the charges. Failure to successfully comply with all requirements of the Diversion Program will result in the resumption of prosecution.  There are seven components of the County Attorney's Diversion Program designed to handle diversion-eligible defendants based on the offense. They include: Felony, Domestic Violence, Re-offender, Misdemeanor, Substance Abuse, University of Arizona Student, and Tobacco Retailer Diversion Programs. For more information please visit:

Bad Check Program

Check fraud is an $8 billion a year crime in the United States, and the passing of bad checks is a very serious problem in Pima County. Even careful merchants get a bad check once in a while. In 1996, the Pima County Attorney’s Office collaborated with law enforcement and local businesses and merchants to create the Bad Check Program.  This is a free service designed to help individuals, businesses, and merchants recover losses incurred from accepting bad checks.

After attempts to collect on the bad check are made by the victim to no avail, the staff of the Bad Check Program will contact the bad check writer to enter the Bad Check diversion program where he/she can avoid prosecution as long as restitution is paid to the victim. The bad check writer is required to pay all associated fees while making restitution; the victim will incur no additional expenses. If the bad check writer fails to make restitution, a misdemeanor or felony complaint could be filed against him/her for issuing bad checks, or committing theft or fraud.

This program is available FREE of charge to any individual, merchant, or business in Pima County. If you can't collect on a check, the Pima County Attorney’s Office stands ready to help. The Pima County Attorney's Office Bad Check Program is ranked Number One in the nation. Since inception, in 1996, the program has returned more than $12 million to victims. Visit for more information.


PCAO Profiles
Keith St. John
Keith St. John is the Chief of Detectives in the Pima County Attorney's Office. Keith's career in law enforcement began in 1977 with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department where he spent 20 years. He was also a Forensic Medical Examiner with the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office. In 2001, Keith joined the Pima County Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigations Unit.  Assigned to PCAO's Cold Case Unit, he investigated several cases resulting in successful prosecutions including, Tyrone Kessler, Ronald Young, and Pamela Phillips. Keith was promoted to Detective Supervisor in 2007. In May 2015, Barbara LaWall appointed Keith as PCAO's Chief of Detectives. He supervises 26 sworn police officers and support staff.  PCAO’s detectives complete approximately 10,000 assignments each year that involve investigative work in both criminal and civil cases. 

Keith received a Sheriff's Commendation in 2002 for breaking a ring smuggling drugs into the jail. He received another Sheriff's Commendation in 2007 for his Cold Case work in St v. Tyrone Kessler. Keith was further honored with the Cold Case Unit award by the Pima County Sheriff's Department in 2008 for his work on the 1996 Gary Triano/La Paloma car bombing cases, State v. Young and State v. Phillips.

Linda McCollum 
Linda McCollum is the Director of 88-CRIME, Adult Diversion, and the award-winning Bad Check Program. Prior to joining the County Attorney's Office, Linda was a District Court Commissioner for Baltimore City, Maryland for nearly 17 years.  Linda joined PCAO in 2008 as the Crime Victim Compensation Program Coordinator.  In 2012, Barbara LaWall named Linda the Director of the Bad Check and Adult Diversion Programs. In 2014, LaWall appointed Linda as the Director of the 88-CRIME Program, which provides an anonymous tip-line for the community to assist in the fight against crime. 


Kate Lawson
Kate Lawson is the Program Director of the Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison (DTAP) Program. Kate has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from The University of Arizona, Eller College of Business, with an emphasis in criminal justice.

Kate previously worked with Pima County government as a Criminal Justice Policy Analyst in the Integrated Health System. In 2007, she helped Pima County launch its first jail-based Restoration to Competency program. 
Kate is co-facilitator for the Southern Arizona Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), a 40-hour, in-service-training for law enforcement officers on behavioral health, crisis, and de-escalation skills. As of 2015, Kate has trained more than 1,000 Southern Arizona peace officers in CIT.

Kate has been recognized for her work in the criminal justice system. In 2010, for her criminal justice program at the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, she was presented with the bi-annual “Program of Significance” award from the GAINS Center Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In 2014, she received the Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award from the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona for her work with the seriously mentally ill. And in 2015, she was honored with the Citizen's Award from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department for her work in training law enforcement. 


Brandy Finley
Brandy Finley is supervisor of the Community Justice Unit in the Pima County Attorney’s Office. She graduated in 1999 from the University of West Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. In 2005, she earned her graduate degree in Community Development from Clark University in Worcester, MA. Brandy began her career in victim services working for law enforcement in Colorado and Wyoming. In 2011, Brandy joined the Pima County Attorney's Office and was assigned to the Community Justice Unit. The Unit runs the Community Justice Boards (CJB), a diversion program for youth who have committed a minor first or second-time criminal offense. 

In addition, Brandy supervises the County Attorney's Communities Addressing Responsible Gun Ownership (CARGO) program, which distributes free gunlocks and gun safety information in the community in an effort to reduce accidental shootings. She is the Chairperson and facilitator for the Center for Community Dialogue Council, a division of Our Family Services, where she creates conflict resolution workshops for families referred to the CJB. Brandy is also an advisor for Neighbors for Justice, Inc., which raises funds for programs for at-risk youth involved in CJB.

For more information on gunlocks, please call (520) 724-5529, or to volunteer with the Community Justice Boards, please visit:


From the Courtroom

State v. William Lamonte Bodney
       A jury convicted William Lamonte Bodney of Burglary in the Third Degree, Attempted Armed Robbery, two counts of Armed Robbery, two counts of Aggravated Assault, and one count of Prohibited Possessor.
      Bodney’s convictions are the result of a string of convenience store robberies, armed robberies, and attempted robberies committed in August 2014. This case was prosecuted by Deputy County Attorney Victoria Otto. 
      On April 21, 2016, Superior Court Judge Carmine Cornelio sentenced Bodney to 25.75 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.


State v. Robert Lewis Ramirez
        On January 13, 2016, a jury found Robert Lewis Ramirez guilty of Aggravated DUI. 
        After Ramirez was stopped by police, it was discovered that his BAC was .178%. Also, Ramirez's driver’s license was suspended and he had previously been convicted of DUI on two other occasions. This case was prosecuted by Deputy County Attorney Noelle Jensen.
         On April 12, 2016, Superior Court Judge Richard Fields sentenced Ramirez to eight years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.


State v. Caleb Soto Diaz
        A jury convicted Caleb Soto Diaz on March 18, 2016 of Kidnapping and three counts of Sexual Assault.
        Diaz grabbed a female runner at the Santa Cruz River Park and forcibly raped her. This case was prosecuted by Deputy County Attorneys Kellie Johnson and Lauren Pylipow.
         On May 16, 2016, Diaz was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Paul Tang to 45 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.


State v. Tonya Dearman and Ian Goodyear

          In late April, two Pima County juries convicted Tonya Dearman and Ian Goodyear for Transportation of a Dangerous Drug for Sale, Possession of a Dangerous Drug for Sale, Possession of a Dangerous Drug, and Possession of a Deadly Weapon during Felony Drug Offense.
In July of 2014, Dearman and Goodyear drove to Tucson from New Mexico to pick up 279 grams of meth. Dearman told officers that she picks up meth in Tucson and returns to New Mexico to sell it. Goodyear admitted that he traveled with Dearman to protect her and would receive meth as payment. Both Dearman and Goodyear had guns on them during the incident. This case was prosecuted by Deputy County Attorney Laura Roubicek.
        Both Defendants have absconded, and Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley has issued warrants for their arrests.


In this Issue:

Adult Diversion
Community Justice Boards
Juvenile Diversion
Teen Court
Bad Check
Quick Links:


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32 N. Stone Ave
Tucson, Arizona 85701
(520) 724-5600
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