CASPER, Wyo. — A female inmate in Wyoming who sued the state prison system over the lack of a “boot camp” rehabilitation program for women will be transferred to a similar program in Florida.
Taylor Blanchard will enter the Florida program this fall, The Casper Star-Tribune reported Saturday (http://bit.ly/2gywYcA ). Blanchard was convicted of drug charges, and a judge recommended she be placed in a boot camp where inmates spend much of their time on work and physical activities.
But Wyoming’s boot camp is open only to men, so Blanchard filed suit in federal court saying her civil rights were violated on the basis of gender.
Blanchard’s attorney, John Robinson, said Friday that he was pleased Blanchard would get to enter a boot camp.
“We are hopeful that the remaining women in the Wyoming women’s prison who should have been given an opportunity to complete a boot camp program are given the same opportunity as Ms. Blanchard, and the men,” he said in an email.
The Wyoming boot camp is a six-month program open to some male offenders under age 25 if a judge recommends it. Inmates who complete the program can ask a judge to reduce their remaining sentence.
Blanchard was originally sentenced to probation but failed an in-patient substance abuse program, so the judge recommended boot camp. Because Wyoming had no program open to her, she faced six to 10 years in prison.
The state is asking the judge to dismiss her lawsuit because she’s now been placed in a boot camp.
Blanchard is asking her lawsuit to be certified as class action on behalf of other female inmates in Wyoming. The state is objecting, saying she is not representative of other female inmates.
Her attorney declined to comment on the state’s argument.