Sheridan County Wins Award For Juvenile Justice Practices

Aug 2, 2019

Credit sheridanwyoming.org

Sheridan County is receiving an award on Monday, August 5 for its work with juvenile offenders.

The Neal D. Madson Award acknowledges counties around Wyoming for their efforts in improving the juvenile justice system. It's awarded by the Wyoming State Advisory Council for Juvenile Justice in partnership with Volunteers of America Northern Rockies.

Craig Fisgus, project director for Volunteers of America, said Sheridan was selected for this year's award because it has reduced its rate of sending juvenile offenders to secured detention by 56 percent since 2014.

"That indicates that while the county certainly believes in holding juveniles accountable, they try to do it in such a way that they keep juveniles in the community rather than placing them in detention," he said.

Volunteers of America collects data from across Wyoming like rates of detention, what crimes juveniles are being held for, how long juveniles are held, and if they are separated from adults while in detention. Once it gathers that information, it sends recommendations to the State Advisory Council.

From that, the council selects a recipient. Council Chair Nicole Hauser said the award was created to recognize the positive impacts counties are making.

"A lot of times in systems of care, there are a lot of regulations, so there's a lot of 'you're doing this wrong, you have to improve on this.' And the council wanted to take more of a positive approach and so developed this award to help recognize the efforts of counties in juvenile justice," Hauser said.

Wyoming has one of the highest rates of juvenile incareation in the country. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Wyoming incarcerates 430 juveniles for every 100,000. That's second to only South Dakota.

The award has been around since 2010 and was given its current name after a long-time juvenile justice advocate Neal Madson from Sheridan passed away in 2016.

Sheridan city and county officials will be presented with the award on August 5, at 12:00 p.m.