When an Arizona probationer expresses an interest in being transferred to another state for probation under the interstate compact, one of the first responses from the lawyers, courts, and probation officers is a warning about how long the process can take to get completed. The process is not as simple as the assigned probation officer picking up the phone and calling someone in another state to let them know that probationer Jane Doe is on the way. Instead, the process includes a detailed and formulaic foray into the bureaucratic process – and any time the bureaucracy is involved, things move slowly.
In Arizona, the process always starts with the assigned probation officer, but does not end there. The assigned probation officer will, in cases where it transfer may be appropriate, contact the agent assigned to coordinate interstate compact applications within that local probation department (each county will generally assign a single person to be the interstate compact coordinator for that county's probation department). The local county coordinator will, with the help of the assigned probation officer, make sure that all of the prospective transferee has properly completed the application and provided any additional documentation that may be required, i.e., the coordinator will make sure that all the papers are in order. Next, the local coordinator sends the application to the Arizona state wide interstate compact clearinghouse. The main contact for interstate compact in Arizona is run through the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts. The administrative office of the courts is the contact point between Arizona and other states for all interstate compact applications going out of Arizona and coming into Arizona. The local probation departments do not have any contact with the other states – they only contact with the state wide clearinghouse.
The Administrative Office of the Courts will also review the application and any accompanying documentation to ensure that all the papers are in order. Then, if the Administrative Office determines that the application is appropriate, the application paperwork is transmitted to the proposed receiving state.
Once the application leaves the Arizona administrative office of the courts, we are completely at the mercy of the proposed receiving state with respect to the speed with which the application will be processed. The interstate contact rules require that the receiving state submit an answer to the sending state within 45 days of the receipt of the application. This 45 day time, over which Arizona has no control whatsoever, is often very frustrating to transfer seeking probationers.
When the decision is made by the receiving state, whether in seven days or 44 days, the sending State will notify Arizona of its decision. If the receiving state is willing to accept the probationer, the receiving state will also send "reporting instructions" to the Administrative Office of the Courts. Those instructions are then transmitted back down the chain and ultimately to the assigned probation officer and the probationer. Then, and only then, can the probationer make the move.
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