Wyoming Honor Farm
About the Wyoming Honor Farm
The Wyoming Honor Farm (WHF) houses 283 adult male offenders and is classified as a minimum custody facility. Established in 1931, the Honor Farm is located one mile north of Riverton, Wyoming. The Honor Farm’s Wild Horse Program, begun in 1988, plays an integral part in inmate rehabilitation by providing an opportunity for inmates to learn how to respect animals and people through day-to-day challenges. Respect is a life skill that many inmates need help developing while incarcerated, and those in the Wild Horse Program work together as a team to develop respect for the opinions and goals of others. Inmates working with horses learn that through respect and patience, even a wild animal will respond in a positive manner.
History of Wyoming Honor Farm: It all started in 1931
The Wyoming Honor Farm (WHF) began operation in 1931, acquired by the 21st Legislature, and was originally known as the “State Penitentiary Farm”. The first year’s budget was $50,000. It was part of the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins, and was run by Farm Manager Andrew Brenston, acting as onsite supervisor, with 1 other supervisor and 2 correctional officers. WHF was run at that staffing level for 40 years. From the 1958 Annual Report, “It was proposed that the overall farm program be continued and improved for … hope that a greater number of those released would profit by participating in this work to the extent that they may be successful in finding and maintaining their place in society and become useful citizens once again.”
The Wyoming Honor Farm started with 880 acres a mile north of Riverton, Wyoming. 11 acres were sold later to the State Highway Department, leaving 869 acres. In 2016, farm operations were decreased to 640 acres. Activities at WHF in the early years included beef, swine, and poultry operations, crops, dairy operations, and a butcher shop. 2300 acres of State and leased land behind the Wyoming Life Resource Center in Lander were added in the late 1970s for grazing for the beef program. Current annual farm operations include an average of 700 cattle, spring calving, 170 wild horses, and over 500 acres of alfalfa, corn, oats and other crops.
In 1985, “A” Dorm was built, housing 40 inmates, at a cost of $425,000. Three other dorms were built in the following years, along with new food service facilities, vocational education shop and a multipurpose administration building. In 1988, WHF partnered with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to begin training wild horses. 3500 wild horses have been adopted from WHF since 1988, and over 950 inmates have worked in the program, with an average of 175 horses on-site/per day. The co-operative agreement between WHF and the BLM is one of the longest running Prison partnerships in the United States.
In the 85 years since its inception, the Wyoming Honor Farm facility has expanded to fill an important position in the Fremont County community, and overall WDOC vision, providing offenders opportunities to become law-abiding citizens, and successfully return to society as our neighbors. Through upgrades and physical expansions, WHF has grown into a prison containing four dorms, having a facility capacity that has grown from 30 inmates in the earliest years, to 279 inmates in 2014. WHF facilities now include a warehouse, as well as programming, vocational, recreational, and educational space, to allow us to meet the goal of reducing recidivism through cognitive and behavioral intervention.