What were they thinking? Horse farms and inmates?
It was one of those feel-good programs that come across reporters' desks nearly every day. This was from the state prison system: "Restorative Justice Benefits Women Inmates and Starving Horses."
A mix of crime and feel-good animal stories. Inmates helping abused horses at the Days EndFarm Horse Rescue in Howard County. A can't miss!
In this photo by The Sun's Kenneth K. Lam, Nelson Myers, left, a correctional officer, helps some of the inmates and volunteers unload bales of hay for the abused horses that. State prison inmates delivered 220 bales of hay from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation to Days End Farm.
Here's what the news release said:
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services today added yet another to its growing list of unique restorative justice inmate initiatives, putting a work crew comprised of female inmates at Howard County’s Days End Farm Horse Rescue. The inmates, from the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCI-W) in Jessup, will begin with grounds maintenance and landscaping, and eventually move into equine care. “What we try to do with these restorative justice programs is not only give inmates skills and the chance to pay back the society they’ve harmed, but meaningful projects that really do make a difference in the lives of people -- and in this case, horses,” said DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard.
Only state prison officials forgot to tell the neighbors of the horse farm, as well as the young volunteers who work there. Now, state officials have shut down the program, according to a story by The Baltimore Sun's Larry Carson.
The prisoners were four to six women, non-violent offenders who were close to being released. A little bit of communication and this all probably could've been avoided. The prisoners need to transition from jail to real life and the Days End Farm Horse Rescue needs help caring for help with the 70 abused and neglected horses in their care. The farm just took in a dozen more horses from a farm seized in Garrett County.
Here is more from state prison officials and some of the projects performed by inmates:
DPSCS began its Public Safety Works initiatives last year to help communities and non-profits accomplish projects despite limited manpower and resources, and has completed some remarkable achievements since: inmates have planted more than 600-thousand trees, including 3,800 to restore Antietam Battlefield to its Civil War appearance; built thousands of oyster spat cages; grown enough shoreline-restoring bay grasses to protect several islands; and restored state veterans’ cemeteries, as well as important historical sites like Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Baltimore and the town hall in the western Maryland city of Williamsport.
The women inmates from MCI-W are all non-violent offenders with little time remaining on their sentences. The four to six women will work in a group under the supervision of a correctional officer. They have received training by Days End on working around horses, and will begin their work with the goal of helping the 58-acre farm create more grazing pasture land.