Dogs In Prison


"The Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, an 800-inmate women's prison, joins more than 65 U.S. prisons with programs allowing inmates to train future guide, law enforcement, and therapy dogs.

"Everybody benefits: the inmates, the dogs, the people receiving the dogs, and also the facility...

"In PBB's program [Puppies Behind Bars], five 8-week-old puppies spend 16 months behind bars with men and women who meet strict criteria...

""We are never at a loss for inmates," says Annie Teillon, director of development at PBB. "Unconditional love is not something you usually get in prison."

"The inmate and puppy go everywhere together in the prison... Inmates provide daily training, and a professional dog trainer provides six hours of training a week...

"Another dog program... "the Liberty Dog Program takes a negative environment and makes it positive" ...

"Pauline Quinn began the first prison dog-training program in 1981 at the Washington State Correctional Center for Women. Her Prison Pet Partnership Program has placed more than 500 dogs...

"Since each of the programs runs independently, no one knows exactly how many dogs have been trained by inmates...

"At the very least, each prison dog can transform the lives of two people: the recipient and the inmate. The challenging skills required to train a puppy help rehabilitate prisoners, providing valuable experience to use in the world outside prison.

""The whole prison system is one of dependency," says Hallet. "But when you get a puppy, you become responsible for something raised for a mission. You learn how to put someone else first." Hallet credits the perspective, sense of self-worth, and skills she learned with helping her get a job once she got out. "I learned how to teach and how to take criticism, and I learned soft skills, like self-confidence and how to work in a group, which I took back into society," she says" (Quasha, Jennifer. "Partners in Learning: Programs Help Inmates and Puppies Alike." Dog Fancy, September 2003, 13).


Colby Glass, MLIS