House unanimously approves Dye’s bill to establish a wild horse inmate program in Connell

The state House of Representatives gave unanimous approval Monday to a bill that would have prison inmates train wild horses. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

The program under House Bill 1543 is patterned after the Arizona Department of Corrections Wild Horse and Burro Training and Adoption Program at a prison in Florence, Arizona. Bill sponsor, Representative Mary Dye, toured those facilities in the fall of 2019:

“It’s a win-win. It helps manage the wild horse population and keep their ranges healthy and well. It also provides inmates an opportunity to learn the skills within the context of the gentling of a wild animal.”

The Washington program would be based at the Coyote Ridge Correctional Center in Connell, along with a farrier training program. In other states, Dye says the recidivism rate is low for inmates who have completed the program and served their time:

“It creates an opportunity for people to redeem their lives and to redeem the time they’ve spent.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

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