In Dane County, inmates who are selected for a specialized program will socialize and train homeless pets in partnership with the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin.
Studies have shown that giving inmates something purposeful to do helps recidivism rates—the rate at which released convicts commit another crime and return to jail—and dog training can really fill that need.
The program, which is called “A New Leash on Life,” is designed to make dogs more adoptable. Inmates will walk, train and socialize the dogs, which is good for everyone. A volunteer from the Badger Kennel Club visits the Ferris Center twice each week, where the program is taking off, to teach inmates what the need to know to work with the dogs.
Programs like these have been incredibly effective. In fact, many institutions in Wisconsin are implementing things to help inmates and the communities; we actually have one of the lowest recidivism rates in the entire country.
Dog training programs aren’t just popular in Wisconsin. The Colorado Cell Dogs, Florida’s Dawgs in Prison and Ohio’s Death Row Dogs programs pluck the pooches out of shelters and give them a second chance… and the inmates who get to work with the dogs end up benefiting, too.
In most cases, programs like these are incentives for inmates to stick to their best behavior and steer clear of trouble. One slip-up can mean they lose the privilege of working with the dogs, and many inmates strive to be housed in the same wing.
Other programs that have been successful in Wisconsin include vocational skills training. Most notably, the Badger State Industries program teaches manufacturing and production in imaging, fabricating and textiles.
What do you think about inmates having the opportunity to train dogs and make them more adoptable? Do you have any reservations about it, or do you feel it’s good for both the inmates and the pups who need to be rescued? Let me know what you think on Facebook.