By Denise Koch


LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — An inmate released after 20 years behind bars might find it hard to find their place in society, but a former inmate from the Sykesville Central Maryland Correctional Facility has made his mark thanks to a second chance program he underwent before his release.

Alex Wooten, 46, spent 20 years in prison for armed robbery. While an inmate, he worked at “Second Chance” farm in Carroll County where incarcerated men learn to care for retired racehorses.

“How to saddle them, how to care for them, how to read them how to know when something’s wrong with them,” Wooten said.

When he was released in 2017, Wooten found a new life as a groom at Laurel Park. Without his second chance, Wooten said he wouldn’t be where he is today.

“Going through Second Chances, you learn whatever anger and frustration you have. you can’t really take it into a stall,” he said.

On the day WJZ visited Wooten at Laurel, he was sharing his experiences with other inmates in the hope they would turn their lives around also.

“When you’re locked up, there’s this saying that we say about coming home is ‘You need to change the people you hang with, the places you hang and the things you do,'” he said.

Now, he told the inmates, he has a job, a car and a place of his own.

It couldn’t have happened, though, without a long list of people giving him a chance. That’s one reason he works so hard.

For more information about the program, click here.

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