For years, Wyoming’s Juvenile Justice system has received low grades from national groups. Part of the problem is that the state locks up many juvenile offenders, but local groups say that prevention and intervention services aren’t available in all communities in the state. A bill being debated in the state senate is intended to change that.
Currently, in order to get funding to develop an intervention program, a joint powers board is required to be formed, but legal requirements make this difficult. The Community Juvenile Services bill would change the law. Senate Judiciary Committee member Larry Hicks says the bill will allow a smaller advisory board to be formed to help establish services to address juvenile offenders.
“So the impetus to this bill was to simplify a process so that all the counties in the state of Wyoming had access to this program so that they could develop diversion programs for youth.”
The Senate approved the measure during opening debate on the bill. It will be discussed two more times.