juvenile offenders

Wyoming Afterschool Alliance

Across the nation, kids are getting caught up in the juvenile justice system more than they should be. That’s according to advocates who say more could be done to intervene before law enforcement get involved.

 

In Albany County alone, there are over 700 incidents involving juvenile offenders every year. But Peggy Trent, the county’s prosecuting attorney, said at least 70 percent of those cases could be handled by schools.  

 

Restorative Justice Council

Each year there are over 700 incidents involving child offenders reported to law enforcement in Albany County. But the county’s prosecuting attorney Peggy Trent says at least 70 percent of the cases she sees could actually be handled in schools using restorative justice -- a practice that focuses on accountability and healing, rather than punishment.

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.

Wyoming imprisons more juvenile offenders than just about any other state.  Part of the reason has to do with the lack of funding to find alternatives to jail and the other has to do with the law enforcement philosophy in a particular community.  Lawmakers have been reluctant to take a firm stand on the issue.  In a story first prepared for the program State of the Union, Laura Starcheski reports.