This presentation provides an update on analysis related to the intersection of the criminal justice and behavioral health systems in the state; an overview of criminal justice system challenges; and a summary of bill drafts in progress related to focusing community supervision resources and programming on people who have the highest risk of failing on supervision, holding people on supervision accountable, and connecting victims to services.
Wyoming’s prisons are nearly full, and the prison population is projected to grow in the next five years, in part because of revocations from supervision. This growth will result in dramatic increases to an already ballooning corrections budget. At the same time, recent declines in state revenue have hindered Wyoming’s ability to invest in strategies to lower recidivism and reduce crime.
To address these challenges, in March 2018, Governor Matt Mead, Chief Justice E. James Burke, Senate President Eli Bebout, House Speaker Steve Harshman, and Department of Corrections (DOC) Director Robert Lampert requested support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) to explore a Justice Reinvestment approach.
Under the direction of Wyoming’s Joint Judiciary Committee (JJC), CSG Justice Center staff will conduct a comprehensive analysis of data and help the JJC develop policy options that are designed to both increase public safety and contain the cost of corrections in the state. These policy options will be available for the committee’s consideration in September and November 2018, and recommendations will be provided to the legislature for consideration in early 2019.
The second presentation to the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee provides findings and policy recommendations related to reducing recidivism among people convicted of nonviolent offenses, connecting victims to services, improving supervision and programming, and overcoming barriers for people in the criminal justice system who have behavioral health needs.
This publication outlines criminal justice trends in Wyoming—including crime trends, increases in drug arrests, prison population growth and resulting costs, and revocations from probation or parole—and summarizes the stages involved in using a Justice Reinvestment approach to address criminal justice system challenges.