The therapeutic value of dogs is well documented, but I don’t think I had ever considered their value within the prison system. But with so many dogs living in shelters where they are virtually unadoptable, due to the manner in which they have previously been treated, the melding together of prisoners and dogs has actually been a remarkable success.
The program basically takes dogs from animal shelters and lets the human prisoners train them, and re-educate them in order that they can be successfully adopted at a later stage. With the prisoners having virtually unlimited time to train them, and the bond that forms between a prisoner and a dog, the benefits for both communities are difficult to measure. One convicted murderer Cynthia says that the dogs have brought out a maternal instinct in her, that she had no idea even existed.
She says “It’s helped teach me love and care- things I didn’t always notice on the street. To get onto the program inmates have to be trouble free for six months but then they qualify for probably the best cell mate they have ever had. This project in Colorado seems to be a fantastic project, helping to save dog’s lives and to rehabilitate prisoners, in a way only dogs can.