Wyoming Liberty Group
By: Anthony Vibbard & Charlie Katebi
Criminal justice reform legislation will be on the agenda in the upcoming 2017 Wyoming Legislative General Session. Much has been said about criminal justice reform and its potential to save taxpayer dollars. The conversation typically revolves around lowering administrative costs, downsizing staff, and avoiding future prison construction. But, reforms could also reduce the growing cost of prison healthcare.
Comprehensive criminal justice reform could increase public safety, save millions of dollars, and give each non-violent offender a second chance.
Over 95% of those incarcerated in Wyoming will eventually be released from prison, so we must consider what to do with these individuals while they are in the state’s custody. Research tell us that lengthy sentences for non-violent, low-level offenders may actually increase the threat of future offenses. Alternatively, equipping non-violent offenders with the tools to become responsible members of the community can maximize long term public safety and minimize state spending on corrections.
Last month, representatives from the Department of Corrections and the Wyoming Board of Parole presented a draft bill to the Interim Joint Judiciary Committee that offers six such tools to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with offenders. Each change invests in public safety and lessens the burden on taxpayers.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;
Thos. Jefferson et al., Declaration of Independence, 1776
Article V of the United States Constitution has attracted interest lately as more people have become frustrated with Washington, D.C., and with standard politics. Article V sets out the process for amending the Constitution. The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief introduction to the U.S. Constitution's processes for amending it. It takes no position on any of the many proposed amendments, and no position on which process to use to amend the Constitution.
Free political speech is a fundamental individual liberty and American constitutional right. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court said in Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic Cent. Committee, “The First Amendment has its fullest and must urgent application to speech uttered during a campaign for political office.” In other words, the constitution’s free speech guarantee exists in order to protect the individual right to speak out about candidates who are actively running for political office. No other type of speech is more important to maintaining a government that is beholden to the people. Political signs in residential areas are an essential tool of political communication. The U.S. Supreme Court also said that there is no practical substitute or alternative to political yard or window signs.
Wyoming’s reform of civil asset forfeiture, which passed unanimously in the 2016 Budget Session, went into effect on July 1. Already, the reform has lived up to its name, which is illustrated by comparing two cash seizure cases—one that began before the reform, and one after.
Has the Wyoming Constitution and a slew of education litigation results from the Wyoming Supreme Court gotten in the way of transformative education in Wyoming? Listen in as Amy Edmonds talks with Bob Nelson, education finance policy analyst and Boyd Wiggam, chief council for the Wyoming Liberty Group as they discuss the Wyoming education system as it stands today. Do we need to do something with the Wyoming Constitution in order to get real reform in education? Has the requirements of litigation in public education really achieved what it said it would? Listen in and find out!
Anthony joined KGAB host, Gary Freeman, and a number of callers to hash out the importance of sentencing guidelines and post-conviction reform, ways to deal with wrongful convictions, and how being smart on crime can save the state precious resources.