New Okanagan prison horse care program provides calming influence on inmates - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Partly Cloudy

New Okanagan prison horse care program provides calming influence on inmates

The Okanagan Correctional Centre recently began a unique new program teaching inmates how to care for horses in conjunction with the Osoyoos Indian Band.
February 09, 2018 - 2:30 PM

OLIVER - A new program for inmates at the Okanagan Correctional Centre is helping inmates cope while teaching skills they can apply once they return to the workplace.

The prison has partnered with members of the Osoyoos Indian Band to provide trained handlers each morning to guide up to six inmates in the care, feeding, grooming and washing of two horses, nine-year-old Roanie, and 18-year-old Gypsy, according to a B.C. government media release.

The program is designed to teach inmates job skills they can use once released from custody. As they learn how to care for large animals, they also learn something about committing to a daily routine and how to be accountable.

“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,” Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth says in the release, calling the program a great partnership with the Osoyoos Indian Band.

Several inmates with more complex needs were invited recently to spend time with the horses for therapeutic purposes, as the animals have been used in the past to provide a calming and holistic environment for those who have experienced trauma.

Osoyoos Indian Band horse program leader Robert Stelkia says inmates who have participated in the program say they developed a greater sense of connection with nature, in addition to better appreciating the Indigenous culture.

Warden Steve DiCastri says the program’s $40,000 cost is an example of how a little can go a long way.

“I believe working with horses has the power to really help some of the men in our care, and I am thrilled to see this program up and running,” he says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2018
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular kamloops News
  • Comments
  • Woman locked in Vernon cemetery turns to social media to get out
    VERNON - While cemeteries can usually sombre places for quiet relaxation, they're certainly not somewhere you'd want to spend a night. Unfortunately for Melanie Mae, that's a prospect
  • Kamloops police seeking child and guardian
    KAMLOOPS - A boy and his aunt have not checked in for two days, and now RCMP are requesting the aunt make contact. Kamloops RCMP received a report to check the well being of a six-year-old b
  • That flu you have may not be the flu
    PENTICTON - So, you went to the trouble to get a flu shot this year, but you ended up spending a week on the couch with body aches, chills, a cough, sore throat and congestion anyway? Cheer
  • South Okanagan man gets letter from prisoner who shot him and left him for dead
    PENTICTON - When Ronald Teneycke one of the South Okanagan's most notorius prolific offenders, was declared a dangerous offender after months of court proceedings last March,Teneycke's las
  • One man dead after shooting in Cache Creek
    CACHE CREEK - RCMP are investigating a shooting in a Cache Creek home that has left a man dead. Police responded to a 911 call at a home in the 1000 block of Collins Road in Cache Creek at a
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile