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Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp & Wyoming Boot Camp

The Wyoming Department of Correction runs its Conservation Camp and Boot Camp programs out of a facility in Newcastle. A woman sued the state in July alleging that the boot camp program violates her rights because it only admits male inmates, thus denying her an opportunity to petition a judge for a reduced sentence.

A Laramie County judge on Friday recommended a Wyoming woman attend boot camp as part of her sentence, though it remains unclear whether she will have to travel to another state because Wyoming only offers the program to young male convicts.

In April, Samantha Taylor of Gillette agreed to plead guilty to felony methamphetamine possession, court documents show. In exchange for her plea, two other felony drug charges and a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge were dropped. The prosecution also agreed to limit its sentencing argument to three-to-five years imprisonment, according to the documents.

On Friday, Laramie County District Court Judge Thomas Campbell sentenced Taylor to two to four years imprisonment with a boot camp recommendation, Campbell’s clerk said Friday. Taylor is only the second woman that a Wyoming judge has recommended attend boot camp. Inmates who succeed in the months-long program in Newcastle can ask a judge to reduce their sentence, however it is only open to men.

A Sublette County judge recommended in May that Taylor Blanchard, a woman also convicted of a drug crime, attend boot camp after she violated probation. However, she could not attend the Newcastle program because it’s not open to women. Blanchard sued the state in July alleging her civil rights were violated because she had not been sent to boot camp and was not given the opportunity to reduce her six-year prison sentence.

Blanchard was eventually sent to a program in Florida. Her federal suit against the Department of Corrections is scheduled to go to trial in August.

A Department of Corrections spokesman on Friday said the department had not yet received a sentencing order and that he was unsure where Taylor would be serving her boot camp recommendation.

Taylor’s public defender, Robin Cooper, did not respond to a voicemail Friday requesting comment for this story.

John Robinson, who is representing Blanchard in the federal suit, said: “It’ll be interesting to see if Samantha Taylor is given the same opportunity as the men, or if she’ll be driven across the country in shackles.”

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson


Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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