Legislators Consider Justice Reinvestment Suggestions

The Sheridan Press

By Ashleigh Fox

SHERIDAN — More than half of prison admissions in 2017 were from probation and parole revocations, resulting in an estimated cost of $30 million per year for people incarcerated from supervision. The Council of State Governments Justice Center suggested increasing access to community treatment and improving swiftness and certainty of sanctions to strengthen supervision, thus providing more cost-effective responses to violations and less taxpayer money spent on incarceration.

The CSG stepped in to help Wyoming evaluate its judicial system after the Wyoming Department of Corrections lost federal funding for a study last year. The study’s purpose was to provide a nonpartisan, data-driven approach to reduce corrections spending and reinvest savings in strategies that can decrease recidivism and increase public safety, according to documentation from the justice reinvestment study.

Funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice assistance and The Pew Charitable Trusts made the study possible.

Between 2013 and 2017, the number of people admitted to prison for supervision revocations spiked 27 percent, an increase of 123 people, phase 1 of the justice reinvestment study concluded.

Phase one includes analyzing data and presenting findings to stakeholders and leaders in the Wyoming Legislature. Phase two includes policy implementation and measuring impact and outcomes. Six states are currently in phase two of the project with CSG; four states are currently in phase one with the organization; and past states participating in the justice reinvestment approach totaled 24 states.

Marc Pelka, deputy director of state relations for the CSG Justice Center, presented the center’s many options to decrease recidivism and increase success in supervision programs within the offender’s community.

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Source: JusticeCenter

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