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, reports the Arizona Republic, though 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.
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. There were 230,000 tests in 2011. The law requires some parolees to pay a portion of the drug-testing costs, which vary by county. Maricopa County’s cost is $7.80. The portion parolees will pay cannot exceed the amount the test costs. Parolees will only be charged once a month, regardless of whether their color is called more than once or if they repeat a test.