Can horse taming prevent reoffending? | The Economist
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Can horse taming prevent reoffending? | The Economist

August 21, 2019

77% of prisoners released in America will be back behind
bars within five years. Re-offending is one of
the biggest problems facing justice systems around the world. And nowhere is this more
apparent than in America, a country that has a quarter
of all the world’s prisoners. Yah. But can wild horses help? You don’t feel caged anymore. Definitely I feel like the
horse is tamin’ me sometimes. These men are prisoners
and horse whisperers. They teach you a lot about relationships, about hard work, perseverance, patience. At Arizona State Prison, the inmates trade their handcuffs for horses. They are learning to tame wild mustangs as part of a rehabilitation program. Since it was introduced,
re-offending rates amongst those who have
completed the program have fallen to 4% over
the last five years. Mustangs have been a part of the American west since it began. The horses in the wild, those that are on Bureau of Land Management
lands, are protected. But when wild mustang herds grow too big, they struggle to find enough food and can damage the local ecosystem. To keep the population under control, around 6,000 are rounded up each year. Most end up in government holding pens at a cost of around $49 million annually. But some are broken in and sold on through horse whispering
programs like this one. We care for, house, and try to get horses adopted out. My name’s Anthony. Anthony Garrison. And my horse name is Flex. I’m in prison for burglary and drugs. I’ve been in since 2010. I don’t get out till February of 2021. My name’s Toby, and the
horse’s name is Clyde, from Bonnie and Clyde. I’m in for drug possession, and I’ve been in for 4 1/2 years. Drug possession. 4 1/2 years for simple possession. 6 1/2 years for simple possession. Yeah. Since the 1970s, successive US governments have encouraged the harshest
punishment for some offenses, including mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related crimes. This has seen the prison population balloon 500% in 50 years. This program is a drop in the ocean, helping only a small number of inmates, but it’s an imaginative
solution to help solve the rehabilitation problem
in American prisons. The incarceration issue in
America, it’s obviously huge, and the difficulty is
to programs like this are really not that easy to develop. The aim of the Wild Mustang Program is to teach prisoners life skills that will prevent them from re-offending. In the long run, this will keep
the prison population down. If we can reach a handful of inmates, and they don’t re-offend,
it’s a huge saving. Not just the monetary saving, but you have a person who has now become a productive part of society. The untamed animals show many similar traits to the inmates. Whoop. In the wild, these horses are
primarily focused on survival. Well, a lot of the guys
that come into prison have this, kind of, same mindset. There are so many parallels to what the horse goes through and
what the inmate goes through. The inmate has to learn
how to live different. They have to learn how to think different. The basic principle is you make
the wrong thing harder to do and the right thing easier to do. Of the 50 inmates who have been released after completing the program, only two have returned to prison. The inmates are taking responsibility for something beyond themselves. Rehabilitation programs like this could help break the
cycle of re-offending. ♪ Another day, another mile ♪ ♪ You’ve been gone a good long while ♪ I’m just not the same person
I was when I first came down. I don’t think the same,
I don’t act the same, I don’t react the same. It’s taught me to help
me with being selfless. This job isn’t about me. This job is about this horse right here. As I give up my time, my
patience, and my energy, I’m the one who’s actually
being taught the lessons. ♪ Another hill, another climb ♪ ♪ Cain’t afford to lose no time ♪ Pioneering programs like this are time consuming, hard to establish, and can only help a
small number of inmates. But they’re effective, bucking
the trend of re-offending.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Legalize everything.
    Then this program will be unneeded cause there will be less prisoners.
    prison owners will go broke.
    Fuck em.
    Government can then control drugs like they already do.
    It's harder to get get shit from the pharmacy than the street corner…
    So put it all in the pharamacy,
    and watch crime go down
    while inmate populations go down
    while our society gets richer
    while drugs are better controled and kept from children and criminals.
    Legalize everything…
    and let your pharmacist take control.

    Legalize everything!

  2. cannabis use is gonna get you A WHOLE MONTH in prison here.

    wait.. 4 years in the us? ehm.. hello? wtf?

    i forgot to mention that if you are found with 5 grams or less the police can legally look another way. and a month prison is the maximum punishment.

    the us is creating criminals instead of stopping them.

  3. Great too see innovation for the rehabilitation of our prison population. May we continue to find more solutions for all of them. And yes, this means reducing the US code and mandatory minimums. Yet, may we also make sure that our prisons are the best rehabilitation centers. Interesting video.

  4. What an irony. The so-called Freedom Country with the longest inmate population of the world.Two million people!!!!! I can't believe it.

  5. The state of Washington legalized marijuana and now they no longer have to arrest between 7,000 and 16,000 individuals each year. That frees police to pursue more serious offenses, it saves taxpayers $20 million per year, and they made $220 million in tax revenue. Get with the times Arizona.

  6. Even non-violent offenders are excluded from any chance at a successful career in most industries. Only thing that will reduce re-offending is if former detainees have the actual option to be successful cleanly.
    "Well, we can't imagine why X didn't learn his lesson about selling drugs"
    Well, X would like to be clean, but has a family and himself to feed and the only place that would hire him is a 7.25/hr part-time job at a gas station…

  7. im curious for an economists point of view in regards to social justice and its effect on the bottom line of companies and industries that bow down to their demands.

  8. The problem isn't that people need to whisper to horses. The problem is that once people are released, they have a mark on their criminal record that prevents them from getting work, it prevents them from getting social housing or social benefits. That pretty much leaves people with no other options but to turn to crime again. So the question is, are these people given jobs as part of the program ?! If so, then I can understand why the re-offending rate is low among them.

    As long as big corporations can get listed on wall street and make money from running prisons, the prison population will always be high in America. Those companies lobby politicians to pass laws that will fill up those prisons.

  9. I mean…. So obviously the absurd drug war and how its lead to greater violent crimes in the US. Crowded up prisons state, federal and YES FINE the fetishized privatized prisons .5% of all US prisons Bernie votes. But fine that. And the destruction of rehab programs like this and boxing (note the amount of Bernard Hopkins tales there are in boxing history) that and dog shit wages from prison labor work and how if there was a decent wage paid. The inmates might come out with a quarter pot to piss in.

  10. Well done Economist! This is one of the great solutions to the problem of over population of Wild Horses in our western states. Thanks.

  11. Legislation brought forth by lobbyists so they can secure lucrative government contracts. While a sane American company will pay 29 cents for that bolt, the govt contract will pay $17 for the same product, and we lucky citizens get to pay for the insanity.

  12. Can the Economist please tell me the name of the song? It's NOT Run Like Hell; that's all instrumental with a different beat. I'm looking for the vocals that start at about 5:50 with the lyrics "another hill another climb can't afford to lose no time". It's a country sound. Others have also asked this question & an internet search reveals nothing. BTW, thanks for reporting on this program; it's not something that I was aware of & it looks helpful.

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