Few prisons in the country were a better fit for a TRF program than the Wateree River Correctional Facility in Rembert, South Carolina. The facility has plenty of land, is in the middle of horse country and already had several agricultural and vocational programs in place for the inmates. When then warden John Carmichael read a New York Times story about the TRF and the success the organization has had at its other prison program, he knew Wateree had to have one too.
“The effect animals have on people is amazing, no matter where you are,” said Carmichael, who has since retired. “On inmates, it has tremendous benefits. One of the biggest problems in South Carolina, which has become very much a Thoroughbred state, is that we don’t have trained workers to work our horse farms.”
Carmichael said that great lengths will be taken to place the inmates now schooled in horsemanship on area horse farms upon their release.
“We will look for people who are going home to a community that has thoroughbred horse operations, so that the people who own the farms or barns know that the person has roots there and will stay around and be a good employee.”
The Wateree facility is the home to 40 retired Thoroughbreds.