The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation presents “35 Years of Second Chances” at the American Correctional Association Winter Conference (Jan 11-15, 2019)

On January 14, 2019, the nationally acclaimed TRF Second Chances Program will be recognized at the American Correctional Association’s 2019 Winter Conference in New Orleans. The American Correctional Association (ACA) is a private, non-profit, non-governmental trade association and accrediting body for the corrections industry, the oldest and largest such association in the world.

Superintendent Catherine M. Jacobsen of the Wallkill Correctional Facility in Wallkill, New York will deliver a case study briefing to an audience of her peers at the annual conference of correctional facility professionals on January 14th at 4 pm. Superintendent Jacobsen will be joined by Kimberly Weir, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving and Chelsea O’Reilly, Program Development Manager from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) to introduce the TRF Second Chances Program. The conference will take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, January 11-15.

Photo: Anita Motion

Celebrating 35 years of service, TRF Second Chances is an innovative thoroughbred aftercare program that first brought retired racehorses to the Wallkill Correctional Facility in 1984 to teach equine care within the institution’s vocational instruction curriculum. With Wallkill as its model, TRF has expanded the TRF Second Chances Program in partnership with prisons in Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, and Illinois. For more than three decades, the TRF Second Chances Program has been equipping graduates with valuable skills to pursue new lives as contributing members of society upon completion of their incarceration while providing thousands of retired Thoroughbreds with a lifetime of top caliber care. Among the hundreds of graduates from the TRF Second Chances Program, many have found employment within the equine industry as farriers, grooms, and stable foremen. All of the graduates have learned lessons of trust, patience, respect, and discipline through the daily care of horses; life skills which improve their qualification for new careers upon their release.

“The TRF Second Chances has been an important and highly beneficial program at the Wallkill Correctional Facility for 35 years,” said Superintendent Jacobsen of the Wallkill Correctional Facility. “I am so proud to share the story of this program with my colleagues across the correctional industry, as I have seen the impact on so many men and so many horses over the years. This is the sort of program that truly delivers on the promise of providing ‘Second Chances.’ ”

At 4 pm on January 14th, Ms. Jacobsen, Ms. Weir, and Ms. O’Reilly will present an in-depth case study of the Wallkill Second Chances Program in their workshop titled New York State’s Second Chances Program with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. This session will provide the history, implementation, and outcomes of the TRF Second Chances Program at Wallkill along with an overview of the national footprint of TRF’s Second Chances Program. The presentation will also include an introduction to the TRF program framework for new facilities that wish to consider adopting the program within their own vocational curriculum. An Expression of Interest form will be available to correctional facilities interested in exploring a new partnership with the TRF.

Photo: Jennifer Stevens

“The TRF is honored to be participating in the ACA Winter Conference to help share the story of success we’ve achieved over 35 years of partnership with the Wallkill Correctional Facility,” said Weir, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving at the TRF. “The dedication and care provided by the farm managers and inmates at Wallkill have provided for a safe, secure, and peaceful retirement for hundreds of retired Thoroughbreds. At the same time, our horses have thrived in the role of ‘teachers’ through the prison’s vocational program structure.”

Looking ahead to the continuing expansion of the TRF’s successful Second Chances Program, Ms. O’Reilly shared that “We look forward to sharing the best practices and lessons learned from our successful partnership at Wallkill with facilities across the country that may wish to work with the TRF to save more retired racehorses while changing the lives of men and women seeking a brighter future after their incarceration.”

About the ACA: The American Correctional Association (ACA; called the National Prison Association before 1954) is a private, non-profit, non-governmental trade association and accrediting body for the corrections industry, the oldest and largest such association in the world. The organization was founded in 1870 and has a significant place in the history of prison reform in the U.S. ACA accredits over 900 prisons, jails, community residential centers (halfway houses) and various other corrections facilities in the U.S. and internationally, using their independently published standards manuals. Approximately 80 percent of all U.S. state departments of corrections and youth services are active participants. Also included are programs and facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the private sector. For more information visit: