Job training for Sacramento County inmates helps break cycle of repeat offenders

Local News

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — A run of the mill horse ranch in Sacramento County is more than what it seems at first glance.  

Nearly three dozen wild mustangs are waiting to be trained at the ranch by inmates from the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.

Through the partnership of the Bureau of Land Management and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, offenders can work on reducing their jail time and move forward their integration back into society through programs that have been successful since 2013. 

“We have educational, vocational and treatment programs and all of our offenders participate in some of those programs, with the wild horse program being one of our vocational programs that we have,” explained Sgt. Brandon Gayman.

The program has also become a major asset for the bureau by training and adopting out nearly 150 wild mustangs found along the plains of Northern California and Nevada with a demand that only continues to grow.

“The U.S. Forest Service, the Border Patrol, sheriff’s departments across California and Nevada, Space Force has contacted us,” explained Bureau of Land Management wild horse manager Amy Dumas. “I mean a whole bunch of agencies are very interested in these horses because they’re a natural born trail horse. They’re a wonderful smart animal.”

The program benefits both the wild horses and the inmates who are working in the program.

“What works over there in that jail does not work over here,” explained ranch manager JP Dyal. “You got two lost souls in there and they have to learn to work together to save each other. That’s what you’re dealing with.” 

The inmates learn the six levels of horsemanship, starting with basic care all the way up to riding and sorting the cows.

“This is Jose’s first time ever doing the sorting,” Dyal said. “We’ll start testing for his level six here tomorrow, actually. This opens a huge market for them. Most of these guys are repeat offenders and that’s what’s important, the program breaks the cycle.”

“The skills that they learn out on the ranch and the passion that they’re able to develop, they’re able to take that out and turn that into a lifelong job,” Gayman said.

The wild horse program is one of 12 vocational programs being offered. Others include barista training, culinary school and welding.

The Bureau of Land Management is also preparing to adopt out several more horses in February.

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