juvenile justice

Wyoming continues to incarcerate youth at a rate much higher than the national average.  That’s according to a new study by the National Juvenile Justice Network. 

Since 2011, the number of kids held in detention centers has dropped dramatically across the nation. But not in Wyoming. New research shows Wyoming's youth confinement rate was 2.2 times the national average during that period.

Wyoming to develop victim-offender dialog program

Jun 17, 2013

The Wyoming Board of Parole has approved the establishment of a victim-offender dialog program. The program will create an avenue for perpetrators and victims of a crime to meet in person and talk, which advocates say helps the healing process for both parties.

The Board of Parole’s Victim Services Coordinator, Randi Losalu, says this approach gives victims of crimes more of an opportunity to be heard. 

Wyoming is locking up fewer young people than it did nearly 15 years ago according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  

The Foundation analyzed federal census data of incarcerated youth from 1995 to 2010. The results show a marked decrease of over 40% fewer youth in confinement across the country with no decrease in public safety.  Wyoming’s rate is down by 12% since 1997.

KidsCount Director Marc Homer says while the new numbers are positive, the state is still lagging when it comes to implementing effective reform.

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. 

Central Wyoming College will be getting over a million dollars from the Department of Labor to launch an innovative program to help young adults who have been in the Juvenile Justice system.

The one-point-two million dollar grant will enable the college to set up the Second Wind Project that will help former juvenile offenders between the ages of 18 and 21 to develop life and work skills with the goal of keeping them out of the criminal justice system. 

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says it is doubtful that his office will propose legislation for the 2012 session on how the state should handle Juvenile offenders. Some reports have claimed that Wyoming incarcerates more Juveniles than any other state. Governor Mead says his office is trying to verify that information and is closely looking at good practices that are taking place in some of the counties in the state. Mead says it has been a difficult issue to resolve, but he does want to find a solution.