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Pet Facilitated Therapy in Correctional Institutions


This paper reviews the available literature on the therapeutic and vocational benefits of pet facilitated therapy (PFT) in correctional institutions. PFT is considered an applied science that uses animals to solve human problems (Gammonley and Yates, 1991). This program is found more often in psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers than in correctional facilities. Consequently, much of the available research is focused on those institutions rather than in prisons. However, the demonstrated benefits of the PFT programs reported in those settings have positive implications for correctional planning.

There are four main themes evident in the literature:

  1. describing the essential components of an animal therapy program
  2. documenting the therapeutic and vocational benefits of PFT
  3. describing the planning required to successfully implement these programs
  4. describing the key elements for an evaluation framework