The State of Wyoming has one of the least prison populations which is largely because of the smaller population size in Wyoming. However, according to the data presented by Prison Policy Initiative, Wyoming locks up 850 per 100,000 people which is a much higher percentage of incarcerated individuals in any other democracy.
As of 2022, the total number of inmates in state prisons in Wyoming is around 2,500 individuals. Due to the smaller prison size, the prisons in Wyoming are considered some of the most well managed than any other state as cases of violence and murders are minimum compared to other state prisons in the US.
What kind of problems exists in Wyoming Prisons that make them the worst?
Wyoming prisons, while being very few in their numbers are better managed since the authorities have few areas to focus on. Despite this, the prisons in Wyoming are not immune to problems as they do exist and once in a while appear making them still dangerous for other inmates.
These problems include:
- Prison fights between different groups of men or women.
- Cases of sexual abuse in prison.
- Lack of proper medical care and other facilities in prisons.
- Guards exert more force on inmates to exhibit their dominance.
- Cases of murders in prisons.
- Overcrowding in prisons.
- Deteriorating facilities in prison.
What is the Wyoming Department of Corrections?
The Wyoming Department of Corrections is a state agency that is tasked with operating the adult prisons and correctional facilities in Wyoming. The first prison in Wyoming opened in 1901 that was put under the control of the Wyoming Department of Probation and Parole. The force was small and did not have the proper training to jail inmates and this is why in 1912 a riot happened which resulted in the escape of 27 inmates and led to the death of a local person who tried to arrest them.
In 1936 a gas chamber was added to Wyoming prison which resulted in the killing of five men. Due to such mishaps, in 1990, the state of Wyoming decided that it needs better knowledge and understanding of how prisons can be improved so that inmates who serve in them correct their past behaviors.
The Wyoming Department of Corrections has served its mission and goals but it is often criticized for not doing enough about the overcrowding issues in the state prisons and often requiring help from its neighboring state Mississippi.
What are the 4 worst prisons in Wyoming?
The following are the 4 worst prisons in Wyoming. These include the following:
Wyoming State Penitentiary:
Number one on our list is Wyoming State Penitentiary, which is Wyoming’s first prison that was opened in 1901. The prison is a maximum security prison that houses over 750 inmates. The prison is also the location of death row for men and women. However, since 1992, no death sentences have been carried out in Wyoming.
Due to its long history, the prison has been home to some of the worst criminals and a reason why problems have always been in this prison. These problems vary from prison fights to hygiene issues to meal issues to inmate care facilities. In 1980 prison saw an upgradation that helped to solve some of these issues but it is still not enough because cases of gang fights do occur and murders have been reported now and then. The prison undergoing lockdowns is not uncommon due to these fights and murders.
Despite all the efforts, the prison is one of the most uncomfortable places.
Wyoming Honor Farm:
The second on our list is Wyoming Honor Farm. The prison was established in 131 to house maximum security inmates but over the years that shifted and as of 2022, it houses 283 adult male offenders and is now classified as a minimum security custody facility.
The main purpose of this facility is to provide rehabilitation to inmates and over the years it has served its mission well. The rehabilitation programs vary to largely farm-related ones ensuring inmates develop enough life skills.
While the whole feel of the prison is welcoming and helps inmates develop ample skills that will help them to serve society well once they reintegrate, however, it is not easy as it sounds. Murders and cases of assault are very common in this prison and despite officials starting an inquiry, very little has been done to ensure proper measures are in place so the prison becomes a safe place for inmates.
Additionally, the prison also suffered from a serious lack of medical care when 35 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 and were not given the care that they deserved to ensure COVID-19 does not spread across, they were simply put in a lockdown, far from others without the care they needed so desperately.
So, despite being a minimum security prison, it still houses criminals and for an inmate to become a target of a crime is not uncommon which can cost them their life. The danger that this place presents is not something to be undermined.
Wyoming Women’s Center:
Established on 20th June 1977, Wyoming Women’s Center is the only all-female prison in the state of Wyoming. The original housing capacity of this facility was 82 beds but a recent construction in 2007 increased the capacity to 261. This was the need of the hour as the prison was seriously overcrowded and inmates were oftentimes reported to be made to share their facilities and beds.
Despite the facility still being relatively smaller, one of the biggest problems it faces is the staff shortage which is also a reason why crimes within the prison are not uncommon and prison fights occur very often, sometimes leading to murders. Additionally, despite a new development in 2007, the main issues and concerns of the prison were not considered.
A court filing in 2019 alleged the conditions within the prison to be “unconstitutional” citing inmates not given proper meals, their free time is often taken away from them, the education facilities are also taken away from them, and inmates are placed within their cells for longer hours since there are not enough guards to ensure law and order.
The filing also appealed that facilities in the prison are deteriorating and there is always a danger of a rise in violence.
Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution:
The last one on our list is Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution (WMCI) which was opened in 2010. The prison is a medium to minimum security class for inmates and is also a place that serves as an intake center for men that are sentenced to death.
The prison does not have any adequate facilities and just like another prison in the state of Wyoming, WMCI also suffers from violence and murders. The life of inmates is in constant danger and there is always a chance of them being attacked by other inmates. WMCI also saw one of the worst surges in COVID-19 cases in the US Prison since almost 40% of inmates contracted the virus.
In such a desperate situation, inmates suffering from COVID-19 simply were not given the proper care they were made to take over all the cooking and cleaning duties of the prison for two weeks. This is also a reason why three inmates died later not of COVID-19 but due to the overburdening.
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