BREAKING: Escaped Inmate from Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp Remains At Large

Search efforts are underway from multiple agencies

John E. Handy, an inmate at the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp, escaped Monday while working as part of the prison's forestry crew. Search efforts are underway to find Handy, who is still at large. (Courtesy photo from the Wyoming Department of Corrections)

By Shen Wu Tan

Special to the Wyoming Truth

An inmate from the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp who escaped Monday afternoon while working with the prison’s forestry crew in Weston County is still at large as of early Tuesday afternoon.

Crews searched through the night, utilizing a drone and tracking dogs, but have found no signs of John E. Handy, according to the Weston County Emergency Management. Staff from the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp (WHCC) also are conducting a grid search of the work area where he was last spotted. Handy could have had “a good lead time” for his escape, the department noted, and multiple agencies are participating in the search.

“Efforts are underway to find this inmate,” Paul Martin, administrator of support services for the Wyoming Department of Corrections, told the Wyoming Truth. “This will be followed by an investigation. So, whatever we learn from that investigation will plot our path forward…. I do want to point out that we run hundreds of inmates through our various pre-release programs every year without incident. This particular gentleman made a decision to escape, and that’s what he’s done.”

On Monday morning, three forestry work details left the state prison. Two of the details each had 10 inmates and a supervisor, while one detail had five inmates and a supervisor working at a site east of the facility. At around 2:30 p.m., a work detail supervisor realized Handy was not at his assigned station and launched an effort to find the inmate but to no avail. The supervisor then reported Handy missing at around 3 p.m.

Handy, 51, was sentenced in August 2022 to five to seven years in Sublette County for unlawful manufacture or delivery of marijuana. He is 5-foot-8 and weighs about 160 pounds. Sightings of Handy should be reported to the Weston County Sheriff’s Office.

No one at the Weston County Sheriff’s Office was available to provide comments to the Wyoming Truth about the incident.

The Weston County Emergency Management is also asking people to keep their vehicles and homes locked and to avoid approaching Handy if they see him.

Martin said he believes this is the first time an inmate from the forestry crew has escaped—at least in recent memory.

“We have managed these crews for forestry for many years,” Martin said. “We’ve never had any problems.” He added that results of an internal investigation will determine whether or not changes are needed in the inmate supervision process.

The Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp operates through a partnership between the Wyoming Department of Corrections (WDOC) and the Wyoming State Forestry Division that dates back to 1964. The WDOC runs the facility and the forestry division supervises inmates on the forestry crews.

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