Bill would create farrier program for inmates
Coyote Ridge prisoners may be able to learn horse care trade
Last updated 3/2/2023 at 11:39pm
OLYMPIA — Coyote Ridge Corrections Center inmate may have an opportunity to learn how to care for horses under a bill that passed the House of Representatives on Monday, Feb. 27.
House Bill 1543, introduced by 9th Legislative District representative Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, passed on a 95-0 vote. The measure now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
The bill directs the state Department of Corrections to study and develop a wild horse training and farrier program at the prison.
The measure would set up a program similar to one offered by the Arizona Department of Corrections.
It's Wild Horse and Burro Training and Adoption Program operates at a prison in Florence, Ariz., where about 30 inmates train wild horses captured on public-owned lands managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management.
"The program gives inmates hands-on training in the equestrian field, helps them to build self-confidence as they care for the animals, and provides the opportunity for employable skills they can use upon release," Dye said. "The recidivism rate for those inmates who have participated in the program and served their time is low.
"It also helps the Bureau of Land Management manage the horse population on public lands and keeps the ranges healthy."
Dye first proposed the program here during the 2020 legislative session through House Bill 2579.
The measure passed the House and Senate unanimously. However, because it contained a small fiscal note, it was among 147 bills vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee.
The new bill would also require the plan to evaluate training methods, facilities, property and financial opportunities for the program.
If the bill becomes law, a report assessing the implementation needs would be required by Nov. 1.
"It creates an opportunity for inmates to redeem their lives and helps them learn a better way of life for them and their families," Dye said. "We want those people who serve time to be able to positively reintegrate back into society and have the confidence to go forward without making the mistakes of their past.
"This program sets them up on a course to be successful when they leave the prison system."
Dye represents the 9th Legislative District, which includes Whitman, Lincoln and portions of Spokane, Adams and Franklin Counties, among other areas.