Eldersburg, Md. — Eldersburg, MD -- There's a farm near a big prison in Carroll County, Maryland where they specialize in redemption, and not just for people.
Second Chances Farm is a state owned property where a small number of inmates from the nearby Central Maryland Correctional Facility in Sykesville have earned the opportunity to work with retired and injured thoroughbred racehorses that have been given safe haven from slaughter by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
The horses include 23-year-old Judge Luci who is a great-granddaughter of Secretariat, one of the greatest racehorses ever.
Inmates under the watch of a correctional officer learn agricultural job skills, horse handling, as well as participate in counseling for anticipated re-entry into society.
Many talked about how the horses teach them to trust and love unconditionally after years behind bars.
"The motto here is second chances and that everyone needs one," said 35-year-old Pablo Lancaster who has been incarcerated for 14 years after a conviction for a Montgomery County home invasion robbery.
"Everybody needs somebody," he said as he groomed Papa, a 23-year old retired thoroughbred with special dietary needs and allergies.
"What the horses provide that other programs can't provide is a stronghold in learning about relationships," said Sarah Stein, program director.