By Molly Messick
Laramie, Wyo. – The Annie E. Casey Foundation is funding a documentary film about Wyoming's juvenile justice system. The Wyoming Children's Action Alliance is overseeing the project, with the aim of affecting policy in the state.
The organization's Marc Homer says 85 percent of juvenile offenders in Wyoming are processed through the adult court system. "The concrete effects are that often what happens is this goes on the kid's record and it has repercussions down the line," Homer said. "Like they can't get financial aid and other things. It totally stigmatizes them in many cases."
Homer says he expects the film to include stories of young people's experiences within the state justice system. Wyoming is the only state in the country that has entirely opted out of federal juvenile justice standards.
Homer says organizations in three other states were awarded similar grants to focus on juvenile justice issues.