The number of Wyoming prisoners who asked the ACLU for help with their criminal cases increased between 2012 and 2013, according to a report released today by the ACLU of Wyoming.
The report is compiled from complaints received by inmates in Wyoming prisons and county jails. Last year, requests for legal help accounted for 15 percent of complaints from inmates—more than twice the share of complaints the year prior.
ACLU Staff Attorney Jennifer Horvath says the organization is being called on more due to inadequacies in the public defender system.
“With budget cuts to local counties and municipalities, with increased caseloads for public defenders and the inability of people to pay for counsel, people may be having a harder time getting representation in their cases, and getting adequate representation.”
Horvath says requests for help with criminal cases usually come from pretrial inmates—typically in jails, but much of the increase in this report came from prisons. She says this might suggest more inmates found their sentencing to be unfair.