Media Contact

November 14, 2017

Cheyenne, W.Y. – Incarceration rates in the state of Wyoming have increased significantly over the past twenty years, resulting in an overburdened criminal justice system. According to a report released today by the ACLU of Wyoming, one of the most significant factors contributing to this trend is the increasing number of state laws establishing new crimes and the move toward longer, harsher penalties.

Bucking the Trend: How Wyoming can reverse course through reduced incarceration and lowered costs recommends steps the legislature can take to start reducing Wyoming’s large and growing prison population and illustrates the negative impact of passing new crimes legislation. It highlights key legislation that, if passed, would reform Wyoming’s prison system effectively reducing incarceration rates and lessening the burden on the criminal justice system.

“The ‘tough on crime’ tactics of the past are ineffective, have filled our jails and prisons to capacity, and have failed to make our state any safer,” says Sabrina King, ACLU of Wyoming policy director. “The legislature has the power the responsibility to reduce incarceration rates, keep our communities safe, and ensure our state is fiscally sound.”

The report finds that Wyoming lawmakers can work toward improving the overtaxed justice system by implementing legislative fixes including: probation and parole reform, establishing a boot camp program for women, and revisiting drug laws already on the books that are responsible for sending people to prison for crimes that could be dealt with through citation or probation.

Read the full report: https://www.aclu-wy.org/buckingthetrend

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