Inmates caring for horses

Inmates at the Okanagan Correctional Centre near Oliver are learning how to care for large animals through a work partnership program with the Osoyoos Indian Band.

Trained handlers are guiding six participating inmates a day in the care of feeding, grooming and washing horses. Inmates won’t be riding them.

"This program represents another great partnership with the Osoyoos Indian Band, on whose land the Okanagan Correctional Centre stands," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

"Working with horses has been proven to help people overcome mental-health issues, trauma and other challenges, and this program is designed to foster a love of this work that may continue post-release."

The horses have also been used for other inmates with more complex needs for therapeutic purposes. A three-stall barn was constructed by inmates as a part of the program.

"This horse program is a great example of how a little can go a long way," said Steve DiCastri, Okanagan Correctional Centre warden.

"For under $40,000, we have been able to establish a unique partnership with the Osoyoos Indian Band that we are incredibly grateful for. I believe working with horses has the power to really help some of the men in our care."

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