By Katie Kull
CHEYENNE — Wyoming’s prisons are full, and inmate populations are on pace to continue to swell by 9 percent, increasing costs for the state by an estimated tens of millions of dollars by 2023.
That’s why analysts from the Council of State Governments Justice Center analyzed Wyoming’s criminal justice system and made recommendations based on their findings. Their goal is to find ways to reduce those inflating costs and meet more people’s needs as part of a national justice reinvestment effort taking place across the country.
The findings filled a day-long presentation to the Legislature’s Joint Judiciary Interim Committee at the University of Wyoming’s Coe Library on Thursday.
The recommendations included suggestions to reduce recidivism among nonviolent offenders, connect crime victims with money to pay for their injuries and costs, improve services provided to people being supervised by probation and parole, and overcome barriers for people in the system with behavioral health needs.
And while the committee didn’t adopt any policy recommendations at the meeting, it did hear about particular areas of concern and strategies adopted by other states to improve outcomes.