The progress of crime rates in Arizona basically tends to the growth, though it is worth mentioning the fact that in recent years the crime rates have declined compared to 2003-2004 when the level of some crimes has reached its peak. In this respect, it should be said that the total number of the violent crimes have increased from 27,281 in 2000 to 30,916 in 2006. At the same time, practically all types of violent crimes have increased substantially. To put it more precisely, the number of murders and nonnegligent manslaughters has increased from 359 in 2000 to 465 in 2006. Similarly, forcible rapes have also increased from 1,577 in 2000 to 1,941 in 2006, though the number of these crimes was even higher in 2005 reaching 2,006. The number of robberies has also increased significantly from 7,504 in 2000 to 9,226 in 2006, while the number of aggravated assaults has increased from 17,841 in 2000 to 19,284 in 2006, while the peak of these crimes was in 2002 when there were over 20,000 of such crimes in the state.
As for the property crimes, they have stopped the steady growth that could have been observed during five years from 2001 to 2005 and in 2006 their number has started to approach the level of 2000, when it was only 271,811, while in 2006 it was 285,370 property crimes committed in the state. In this respect, it should be said that it is only larceny thefts that have decreased in recent years from 176,705 in 2000 to 173,466 in 2006, while burglaries have increased from 51,902 in 2000 to 57,055 in 2006 and motor vehicle thefts have increased from 43,204 in 2000 to 54,849 in 2006. At the same time, the probation population has increased not so significantly compared to the growth of crime rates from 71,115 at the beginning of 2006 to 73,265 by the end of the year (See Table 1).
Change and adaptation best characterize the history of the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency. The State of Arizona first afforded inmates the opportunity for parole in 1901. The Board of Control functioned as the state’s discretionary releasing mechanism and consisted of the Governor, Territorial Auditor, and one citizen appointed by the Governor. The Board of Control retained its releasing authority until the first criminal code became effective in October of 1913. In 1913, the Legislature established the Board of Pardons and Paroles, which assumed the the discretionary releasing function of its predecessor, the Board of Control. Board membership consisted of a citizen appointed by the Governor to serve as Board chairperson, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Attorney General. Board composition remained unchanged for the next five decades.
The Legislature expanded Board membership to five part time members in 1966. The Governor appointed all members to five year terms. In 1968, the Legislature amended this expansion and created a Board comprised of three full time members. The Governor appointed all members to three year terms and the appointments became subject to Senate confirmation. A full decade passed before the Board experienced a change in its composition. In 1978, the Legislature increased the Board size to five full members. The appointments were to five-year terms and remained subject to Senate confirmation. The legislative action coincided with the passage of the new Criminal Code.
The Legislature again expanded Board membership to seven full-time members in 1984. In 1993, Legislation passed which eliminated Board releases for inmates whose offense was committed after January 1, 1994. In addition, the Board’s name changed from Board of Pardons and Paroles to the Board of Executive Clemency.