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Juvenile Justice – Governor Mead Calls For Changes

Karen Snyder, K2 Radio

Changes to juvenile justice law won’t likely come during the next legislative session, that from Governor, Matt Mead, who is expected at the dedication of a new juvenile detention center in Casper Saturday. Mead will be there with his advisor on juvenile justice issues, retired District Judge, Gary Hartman, who is tasked with developing a plan for change to a system that Mead calls too cumbersome.

“I know that in certain places in the state, for example, in Sheridan and Natrona County, they’ve done some extraordinary things with juveniles.”

Mead says he wants a plan for the future that is state-based and works with alternatives already in use by some prosecutors in the state.

He sites practices in Natrona County that he says are providing alternatives to incarceration, “and rather than detaining them, getting them back in school, getting them education, and moving forward. The issues with juveniles is, most of us growing up made a stupid mistake. We want to be able to identify those kids that have made a stupid mistake and put them on the right track versus those that continually break the law and are not interested in improving themselves.”

The work of identifying the kids who respond to those alternatives, he says is important both emotionally and financially.

“The cost to the criminal justice system in not getting those juveniles where we want to get them, just in terms of dollar, not to mention human misery, is a lot.”

Dedication of the new Natrona County  Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Casper happens tomorrow at 11am.

The new facility is located next door to the adult Natrona County Detention Center at, 1120 Bruce Lane in Casper.

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