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WYO Juvy Justice Film: Too Many Kids in Adult Courts

October 7, 2010

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - "Smokin' in the boys' room" at school can send a Wyoming kid right into the adult court system. Such cases are documented in a new film called "Your Neighbor's Child" airing tonight on Wyoming PBS. Film producer Marc Homer followed the stories of several young people as they navigated the state's court system, which is one of just a few in the country with no separate juvenile court. That means 85 percent of the time, kids face adult charges, even for minor offenses.

Homer is calling for a review of the entire system.

"So we can really get a much better understanding of who's going into the system, and whether or not the programs being used are actually working, or not working."

He adds the state needs to investigate ways of keeping kids out of the court system, when possible, and help children get back on the right track in their own neighborhoods.

"So that we're not prosecuting kids for minor offenses, and then having them end up in a secure detention situation or a treatment center many hundreds of miles, in some instances, from their homes."

Besides airing on Wyoming PBS, the film is being shown in theater settings around the state, followed by community discussions. The film airs at 7 p.m. More film details and locations for big screen showings at www.movie.wykids.org.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY