Cheyenne, Wy – This year's Kids Count report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Wyoming has the nation's second-highest
rate of locking up juveniles and jails nearly three-quarters of
those youths for nonviolent offenses.
Only South Dakota has a higher rate of locking up juveniles.
Juvenile services officials say it's past time for Wyoming to
improve those numbers.
The director of Wyoming's Department of Family Services, Tony
Lewis, says Wyoming needs more local programs focused on keeping
youngsters out of trouble. Lewis also says local communities need
to adopt rules for locking up juveniles - especially rules saying
youths under 18 shouldn't be locked up in adult jails.
Beth Evans is Wyoming's juvenile justice project coordinator.
She says each county in Wyoming needs to be held to the same
standard for reporting how many juveniles they lock up,
particularly when kids are put in adult facilities.