Social Issues June 24, 2013
Dogs On "Death Row" Help Prison Inmates, And Everyone Wins

Paws in Prison is a program that places dogs from animal shelters in prisons, where they get obedience training from the inmates.

The program, which is run by the Arkansas Department of Corrections, helps both the animals and the prisoners.

The dogs chosen for the program are those facing euthanization at shelters - they're on "doggie death row," according to Department of Corrections spokesperson Shea Wilson.

Paws in Prison gives them a second chance at life. Once they graduate, they are adopted by people across the U.S.

prison-paws-standing.jpgAnd for the prisoners, some of whom are serving life sentences, getting to spend time with the animals is a treat.

"It teaches you there's more than you, and you have a responsibility now and you've got someone looking to you for everything," says prisoner Steven Miller in the Associated Press video above.

Inmates have to earn the right to participate in the program by demonstrating good behaviour.

More than 200 dogs have gone through the program in the year and a half since it started.

"It makes it, in a way, that you're sort of not in prison anymore," says Miller. "It's more like normal life."

This isn't the only place where inmates get to work with dogs.

At Bishop's Falls Correctional Centre, a minimum security prison 400 kilometres northwest of St. John's, Newfoundland, inmates work with stray dogs from the local SPCA, the Toronto Star reports.

And the Nova Institution for Women in Truro, N.S. has had a similar program in place for 15 years.

In the U.S., the Prison Paws for Humanity program at the Montana Women's Prison has been running for nine years. Check out a video about it above.

Via Washington Post


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