LITTLE ROCK, AR -- More than 100 people bid on horses auctioned off by the Arkansas Corrections Department Saturday. Leaders put 82 of the agency's 450 horses on sale. DOC uses the horses for many purposes, including security.
"All of these horses came from our herd and we are just decreasing the size of our herd," said Dina Tyler, who oversaw the auction for DOC.
Some of the horses are gentle, while others are a little feisty. Most are more than ten years old and ready to enter retirement.
"Then there are some that are young, 4 or 5 years old, who would make a great trail horse or pleasure horse. But they weren't working out for what we needed them to do," said Tyler.
But inmates also benefit from the horses. Donnie Vitt says taking care of the herd improves his perception of life.
"Being incarcerated itself has impacted my life immensely. It is very humbling. I'm not very proud of it, but I am sure I will be a better man when I am done," said Vitt.
Directors say the farming operation program provides job training for inmates and keeps them out of trouble.
"A busy inmate is a tired inmate and a much more easy to manage inmate," said Tyler
The auction generated about $30 thousand for the department's farming operation budget.