The voices and perspectives of those who’ve been affected by the criminal justice system have been missing from discussions of justice reinvestment reform in Wyoming. We aim to change this by putting a human face on how the system has failed people– and helped where it has helped– who’ve experienced the criminal justice system. The moment is right, and there is no time to waste. By contacting your legislators, by appearing in front of legislators and telling your story, by making your voices heard, together we find we are not alone, and together we can make the system work better to serve the people of the State of Wyoming. Legislators cannot fix what they don’t know. If you or someone you love has experienced the criminal justice system as it has been working or not working, and can envision ways that it could have better served you, family, or friends in overcoming substance abuse and/or mental health challenges, we need you to be part of this coalition. If you are a substance abuse or mental health counselor, we need you to be part of this coalition. If you are a defense attorney who knows your clients could benefit from community-based treatment and support that gives hope to your clients for a better future, we need you to be part of this coalition.
By joining with us, you add your voice and your ideas that can make the system better. By sharing your stories with legislators, you educate them about weaknesses and strengths in the system that they’ve never before heard, and gives them a chance to fix it. They can’t fix what they don’t know, and what “happens on the ground” is often much different from the way it’s “told at the top”. By telling them your story, you put a human face rather than numbers or abstractions on how the system affects people, and how it can be improved to help those it most affects reach their personal potential going forward.
What Do I Do?
Join Us. Complete the contact form with your name, email address, and telephone number and say you’d like to be part of this movement. TReND Wyoming will send email alerts when it’s time for all of us to act in reaching out and telling our legislators what we want. TReND Wyoming will also update you about what’s happening in the legislature, and act as a hub of ideas and support we can offer each other.
Tell Your Story. There is probably no better way to influence a legislator than giving the legislator the opportunity to hear your story in person. This takes a lot of courage. But legislators care, and they want to know how their policies are and aren’t working in the lives of real people. Without you telling them your story, who they’ll hear instead are only the people who make their living in the justice system telling your story for you. And do you think those descriptions of your story will be accurate or complete?
We, the volunteers at TReND Wyoming, can work with you in getting your story the way you want it told in front of the right legislators. So they’ll know how it really is.
If you can’t tell your story in person, telling your story to a group of legislators through video is the next best way to influence a legislator. If you make a video of you telling your story, tell us about it by completing the contact form. We can edit your video for the most impactful messages if you wish. If you approve of the edit, we will work with you to make sure it gets to the right legislators. If you want help in making your video, please contact us.
Telling your story in writing is the third most effective way to influence a legislator. Again, we can help with this and make sure your letter gets to the right people.
What should you tell in your stories? Tell the history of what led up to you, or a loved one, or a client being involved in the justice system. Then, what did the system do to both set you, your loved one, or your client, up for failure and for success. What obstacles were encountered in trying to improve the situation for you, your loved one, or your client? What and who helped you? What could have been done differently that would have made a big difference? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the system as it is today? What strengths do you, your loved one, or your client have that the system ignored or harmed, and what could have been done differently to make those personal strengths work better? What do you want the legislators who want to make the system better to know?
Spread the Word. Many who’ve come through the justice system, or who’ve had loved ones come through the justice system, feel alone. You are not alone. Please spread the word about this effort to friends, families, and those you think can help. There is strength in numbers.
Volunteer to Help. We are all volunteers in this justice reinvestment/ justice reform effort, and there is much to be done. With your time and with your talent, together we can make a difference.