After providing background information on Wyoming’s criminal justice policy reforms under the federal Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), progress to date in implementing these reforms is reported, along with their impact on the criminal justice system and public safety.
In 2018, Wyoming sought technical assistance under the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), which is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance and The Pew Charitable Trusts for the purpose of addressing various challenges in the state’s criminal justice system. At that time, Wyoming prisons were at capacity, and nearly 90 people were housed in prisons out of state. Revocations from supervision were a driver of the incarceration rate, and people on supervision were experiencing barriers to accessing timely behavioral health treatment services. The policies adopted by the state were reflected in House Enrolled Acts (HEA) 45 and 53 and Senate Enrolled Acts (SEA) 19 and 50, which were signed into law in February 2019. Shortly after enacting initial pieces of legislation, Wyoming began working on additional legislation stemming from a request by the state to evaluate the overlap between the supervision population and people accessing behavioral health treatment in the state. This effort resulted in the passage of HEA 62 in February 2020. Wyoming is 3 years into the implementation of the initial pieces of Justice Reinvestment Initiative legislation. Within this time, the DOC has modified the Positive Rewards Incentive Sanction Matrix Incentive and sanctions structure for the community supervision system. The state has also begun implementing the follow-on legislation, HEA 62. To date, Wyoming has experienced a reduction in their prison population without seeing an increase in crime rates. There has been a 12-percent increase in the number of people who have successfully completed supervision. Extensive tables and figures