NH state prison inmates help animals at Chichester farm
CHICHESTER - Inmates at the New Hampshire state prison look forward to Tuesdays at the farm.
Six inmates in the transitional housing unit get to leave the prison property and help out at the Live and Let Live Farm in Chichester.
Michael Sutton of Rochester is one of the inmates chosen to go to the farm. He has been in jail since 2003 for robbery and burglary.
"Every day I come out and work here as hard as I can is a day I'm away from there," Sutton said. "I don't care if I'm making $3 or no dollars."
Sutton is scheduled for parole early next month.
State prison guard James Welch said he notices an improvement in behavior when they visit the farm, and it's good preparation for the real world.
"They just act differently when they are outside in the public than they do inside the walls," Welch said.
Teresa Paradis runs the farm and said she was excited to implement this program with the inmates.
She said the inmates do it all, "splitting wood, interacting with animals, helping train puppies, walking the dogs, interacting with horses" and a lot of manual labor.
The biggest hurdle is prison staffing - making sure there is an available guard to bring the inmates and stay with them at the farm for the day.
Paradis said she has offered to help by transporting the inmates back and forth.