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According to juvenile justice advocates such as the ACLU, the School to Prison Pipeline prioritizes incarceration over education due to several factors including failing public schools, zero tolerance policies, increased reliance on police for school discipline, “alternative schools” for disciplinary problem students, court involvement and juvenile detention. Each of these has inherent dangers for children already most at-risk for failure.
When juveniles get into trouble in school, at home or out in their communities, all too frequently these at-risk youth end up embroiled in the judicial system. Although schools and child advocates attempt to identify at-risk youth and intervene early, some of the recent trends in juvenile justice have been counterproductive.
The juvenile justice system in Wyoming is unique in the country. It would be pleasing to have a juvenile justice system unique due to its stellar qualities, but unfortunately, Wyoming stands alone based on its failure to achieve even the most basic expectations standard in juvenile justice systems in the rest of the country.
How to Keep Kids Out of Jail Featured
I intended this to be an upbeat resource-rich article highlighting success stories, strategies and promising new approaches to keep children out of the juvenile justice system. In the course of researching for this paper I certainly did find some promising trends and programs and I will mention them and explain why they offer exciting possibilities for Wyoming’s troubled youth.
Last week I explained that the pending revenue dry-up is putting the Wyoming state government in a problematic situation. If General Fund spending grows by as little as two percent per year, the General Fund will $312 million short by the time we get to the 2019-20 biennium.
With a three-percent annual spending growth, the deficit will exceed half a billion dollars.