You’ve heard of the Animal Planet show Pit Bulls and Parolees, right? But did you know that a recent trend in jobs training inside some private prisons is inmates working with rescued dogs to learn dog-training skills they can use to gain employment once on the outside?
At the privately-operated Jenkins Correctional Center in Millen, Georgia, inmates foster and train retired greyhounds in collaboration with the animal charity Second Chance Greyhounds. Second Chance says of the program that it helps with “alleviating boredom and tension in prison, resulting in a safer environment for both staff and inmates” and to “increase retention of Greyhounds in their new adoptive homes,” a win-win for the dogs and prisoners. Last month, a graduation ceremony for trained greyhounds was held, attracting local press coverage.
Meanwhile, in Texas at the Eden Detention Facility, a foster and training program matching inmates and dogs rescued from euthanasia operates as a collaboration between the prison and another local animal non-profit, Concho Valley PAWS. Over the course of 10 weeks, inmates take charge of the dogs’ care and training under the direction of a certified dog trainer. After the 10 weeks are up, dogs take a “test for their Canine Good Citizen accreditation” and “upon passing this test, the dogs and the inmates will graduate.” The dogs then move on to foster and adoptive homes.
As with the Jenkins-Second Chance Greyhounds program, inmates acquire dog training skills that they can use to gain employment and a steady income once back on the outside, but the benefits are more than economic. Both programs allow prisoners to experience unconditional love, sometimes for the first time in their lives.
Check out this Texas local Fox affiliate’s coverage of the Eden-Concho Valley PAWS program:
You can see pictures of the Jenkins-Second Chance Greyhounds program in action here.