Mike Smith was out of jail for 10 days when he blacked out while drinking and was arrested alongside a busy street in Key West.
When he sobered up, he was back in jail. By his own admission, he was not surprised to be there. The blacking out had happened before.
“Im done,” Smith told himself. “If I dont stop, Im gonna spend the rest of my life in prison.”
He has no recollection of being arrested, half a block off Duval Street.
This time, Smith knew he would have to do a small stint before he could get a spot in a substance abuse program.
In the interim, he signed up to be a trustee at the jail, working on a farm that for the last two decades has become a corner of Monroe County where abandoned, abused, confiscated, and donated animals from around the country have found refuge behind razor wire.
It’s a place where a miniature horse named Bam Bam grazes his days away on a pasture as men in orange jumpsuits muck stalls and make sure water dishes are brimming.