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New equine unit to open at Castlerea Prison

Apr 20, 2022 07:04 By Shannonside News
New equine unit to open at Castlerea Prison New equine unit to open at Castlerea Prison
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The Horses for Hope programme has been running for the last number of months at the Roscommon jail.

It's hoped a new state of the art equine centre at Castlerea Prison will help lower re-offending rates among prisoners.

The new 10 bay unit will be officially opened by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee later today.

Up to 8 prisoners can take part in a full-time course over a number of weeks, where they learn how to professionally work with and care for horses.

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The programme hit delays during the pandemic, with two classes of inmates finishing the course in the last number of months.

Eight horses rescued or donated from different backgrounds are currently being cared for by prisoners at the facility, with the programme supported by top figures in the Irish horse racing industry.

Governor of Castlerea Prison, Anthony Shally, believes the equine unit will help unlock inmate's potential:

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"Prisons are full of people who have done bad things, but they are not necessarily full of bad people.

What we are trying to connect with here is to provide prisoners with an opportunity when they leave prison, to leave with skill and to leave with a work ethic that will allow them to re-enter society as positive contributors to their own environment and to their own community

If we can break that cycle of re-offending and give someone an opportunity or skill that will allow them to get employment, once someone has a sense of purpose or skill or they can identify with something that can take them away from a path of crime."

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