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Female Inmate Loses Appeal In Wyoming Discrimination Case

Wyoming Department of Corrections

A female inmate at the center of a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Wyoming Department of Corrections has lost her appeal after a ruling in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Taylor Blanchard was a 23-year-old first-time offender when she was charged with conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance. Her age and the nature of the crime made her eligible for a boot camp that would have cut down her six- to ten-year sentence significantly. However, the Wyoming Department of Corrections only offered the in-state program to men.

"She was denied that solely because she's a woman. So the whole thing about it just stinks - not just for Taylor, but for all women in Wyoming," said Stephen Pevar, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union who represented Blanchard in the case.

According to Pevar, the state sent Blanchard to a similar, though inferior, program in Florida. In early August the judge ruled her case moot as Blanchard had completed that out-of-state program.

To Pevar's knowledge, Wyoming still doesn't offer the boot camp to women. The Wyoming Department of Corrections said it would not answer that question without a freedom of information request, a process that can take weeks to months to complete.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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