Prison

Wyoming Department of Corrections

A female inmate at the center of a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Wyoming Department of Corrections has lost her appeal after a ruling in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In July, a transgender woman in Idaho will make history. 

Adree Edmo will become the first trans inmate in the nation to receive gender confirmation surgery through a court order. Edmo's legal case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now, a ruling in her favor stands as precedent in the 9th Circuit. 

The Mountain West News Bureau, in collaboration with the Boise State Public Radio newsroom, has won a regional 2020 Edward R. Murrow Award for its investigative podcast LOCKED.

Colorado became the 22nd state in the nation to abolish the death penalty when Gov. Jared Polis signed the legislature's repeal into law on Monday.

The death penalty is still on the books in every other state in the Mountain West except New Mexico. But University of Colorado-Boulder sociology professor Mike Radelet thinks that could change. 

This week the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed its decision in the case of Idaho inmate Adree Edmo, the transgender woman who sued the state to be provided sex reassignment surgery.

As states in the Mountain West and beyond debate the merits of private prisons, Colorado is considering a bill that would look at ways to phase them out. 

In his latest budget proposal, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis requested $7.2 million to begin transitioning the state away from private prisons. A big part of that plan was to close the Cheyenne Mountain Re-entry Center in Colorado Springs. It’s a medium security facility run by the GEO group, one of the largest prison companies in the country. 

There’s wide variability in state policies about what care to give to women who are pregnant and behind bars. That’s according to a new report from the Prison Policy Initiative, a research and advocacy organization focused on mass incarceration.

“Women's populations in prisons have been growing faster than men's for quite awhile now,” said Wanda Bertram, a spokesperson with the Prison Policy Initiative. “So it's a good time to start looking at how women's experiences differ from men's while they're inside.”


On a tour of the Juvenile Services Center in Cheyenne, Sgt. Jay Stewart explains that juvenile offenders stay here for an average of 49 days. But whether they're here for a week or a year, kids are required to go to school. 

Cooper McKim

Driving down a long-rural road in central Wyoming, Gina Clingerman pulls up to the gate of a minimum-security prison called the Honor Farm. A security guard gives the truck a once-over.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the state of Idaho must provide sex reassignment surgery to inmate Adree Edmo.


Savannah Maher

Over 600 Native students and their educators gathered at Central Wyoming College this week for the annual Native American Conference. Juvenile Defender Nubia Pena gave the keynote address. She talked with Wyoming Public Radio's Savannah Maher about what teachers on the Wind River Reservation can do to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.

Public Domain, Pixabay

According to new statistics from the Department of Justice, the country's incarceration rate is continuing to decline. From 2007 to 2017, the U.S. prison and jail population decreased by more than 10 percent. But that's not the case in Wyoming.

crop of image from the Wyoming Department of Corrections

A legal complaint filed nearly four months ago is raising questions about conditions at the Wyoming Women's Center. WyoFile broke the story, reporting that "three inmates at Wyoming's only women's prison have asked the federal district court to force the state to deal with overcrowding and deteriorating facilities that they allege have created unconstitutional conditions of confinement." A judge has yet to act on the matter.

Bob Beck

Wyoming's prisons are overcrowded and the problem is predicted to get much worse. The Wyoming Department of Corrections was forced to place 88 prisoners out of state this year and so the state brought in the Council of State Government's Justice Reinvestment program to try and find some solutions. The reason for the growth is that too many people are being returned to prison for probation and parole violations. 

Andrew Graham/WyoFile


Wyoming's prisons are exceeding capacity, and as a result, state prisoners are held indefinitely in county jails, and this past year the state paid to house 88 prisoners at a private facility in Mississippi. State lawmakers are at a crossroads: spend $50 million to house more prisoners or figure out how to reduce the incarceration rate. Wyoming Public Radio's Tennessee Watson sat down with WyoFile reporter Andrew Graham to discuss his reporting on solutions to the problem.

Bob Beck

Wyoming's prisons are overcrowded to the point that the Department of Corrections has had to ship some inmates out of state. An analysis of the Wyoming prison system shows that over 50 percent of those behind bars are there due to probation or parole violations. Lawmakers were told that they could save millions if they found a way to keep those people from returning to prison.

Volunteers of America

Earlier this summer, the Governor's Advisory Council on Juvenile Justice gave Albany County the Neal D. Madson Award for its groundbreaking work with juvenile offenders. Since 2014, Albany County says it's reduced the number of young people who end up in secure detention by 34 percent. That's when the county formed a Community Juvenile Service Board and started a diversion program, which advocates say has been good for kids and the state's bottom-line.

Council of State Governments Justice Center


As previously reported the state of Wyoming is trying to figure out what to do about issues related to prison overcrowding and public safety. Marc Pelka is the Deputy Director of the Council of State Governments Justice Center who is helping the state find ways to deal with offenders earlier in life and find ways to keep recently released inmates from violating parole or probation.

He was in Cheyenne this week as part of a conference dealing with these topics and others. Pelka’s project is called Justice Reinvestment, he explains it to Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck. 

Wyoming Department of Corrections

For the last several years the Wyoming Department of Corrections has urged lawmakers to implement a number of reforms that could reduce a growing prison population. Some of those ideas involved changing sentencing guidelines and getting non-violent offenders back on the street. But a couple of years ago a massive Criminal Justice Reform measure died after the Senate President declined to hear it. 

Wyoming Department of Corrections

An organization that offers non-partisan recommendations on a variety of issues says in the last ten years Wyoming's prison population grew by 12 percent. This number makes Wyoming the 9th largest percentage change in the country.

Kamila Kudelska

The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee met Tuesday to discuss ways to increase probation and parole efficiency and effectiveness. This comes after the state Department of Corrections sent 88 inmates to a private facility in Mississippi due to overcrowding in Wyoming’s prisons.

By Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming Department of Corrections (DOC) transferred 88 inmates from the state penitentiary to a private prison in Tutweiler, Mississippi. The first group of 60 got there at the beginning of this month, with another 28 arriving this past Friday.  

Courtesy: Sabrina King

A new report says Wyoming’s prison system is growing, which is driving up costs and the culprit is the lack of prison reform and new legislation that could lead to more people being placed behind bars. ACLU of Wyoming has released a report called Bucking the Trend: How Wyoming can reverse course through reduced incarceration and lowered costs

State Policy Director Sabrina King says they’ve given the legislature some ideas.

 

Wyoming Department of Corrections

This fall, prisoners at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in Torrington will be able to earn college credits through a program called Wyoming Pathways from Prison.

This is just one of the many educational opportunities this unique partnership between the Department of Corrections and the University of Wyoming is offering incarcerated Wyomingites.

Wyoming Afterschool Alliance

More than 100 people gathered in Riverton on Tuesday for the Statewide Summit on Juvenile Justice hosted by the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance. The summit brought together a diversity of stakeholders — from school staff to after school providers to social workers to prosecutors — to figure out how to keep kids engaged in school and out of the juvenile justice system.

Stuart and Jen Robertson - Flickr: State Penitentiery, Rawlins Wyoming

Members of a task force that reviewed a wide range of structural problems at the Wyoming maximum security prison in Rawlins stressed that they believe using up to $125 million to fix the facility will work.

Wyoming Department of Corrections

At the Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk, there’s an average of four births per year. That’s because some inmates are showing up to prison pregnant. When an inmate does give birth, they’re usually given less than 24 hours with their newborn before handing the child over to family or foster care services, when they return to the prison. Four years ago, plans were put into motion to address the situation by providing a mother-child unit where inmates could raise their children. However, the unit has remained vacant since renovations were completed in 2014.

Miles Bryan

26-year-old Cameron Largent lives with his mother in a big suburban house in Rock Springs. His favorite spot at home is the basement couch, where he’s set up to play the fantasy video game World of Warcraft.

“I’m a priest,” he says. “So my job is to run around and heal people. [my character] is the highest level you can get: level 100.”

Largent has had a lot of time to level up recently: he has been sober for six months. It’s the longest he has gone without drinking for years.

The Wyoming Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is closing permanently, making Wyoming the only state in the nation without an ACLU office.

The ACLU chapter in Wyoming is one of only a few across the country funded entirely by the national organization. It issued a statement saying the organization was cutting seven percent of its total budget, and the closure of the Wyoming office was a result of that “financial realignment”

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