Correctional Service Canada
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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Pet Facilitated Therapy in Correctional Institutions


This literature review suggests that the benefits of PFT do not only affect the inmates, but also the animals, staff, and the citizens in the community that receive the trained animals. Inmate behaviour and self esteem improves as a result of being involved in PFT programs. PFT programs teach discipline, cooperation and respect for others. Depending on the nature of the program, inmates may also acquire employable skills.

Animals benefit from this program as they are often saved from certain death and given a second chance. Training and grooming allow the animals to be more presentable and desirable to potential owners. The animals that become assistants to the physically disabled, hearing impaired, or senior citizens present a valuable contribution to this population.

Staff members who work at institutions with PFT programs see the differences in the inmates and the benefits to the animals. Many staff explained how the animals make their often hectic work environments easier to manage, relax the mood of the institution, and promote better communication with inmates.

The citizens in the affected communities, particularly those who are physically disabled, hearing impaired, or the elderly, have been extremely pleased with the results of PFT programs. They note that not only are animals being trained to assist them, but the inmates are also using their time constructively. Citizens have shown to be eager to accept these animals into their homes and to correspond with the trainers.

PFT programs, when implemented effectively, demonstrate a positive addition to any facility. These programs benefit all parties involved and impact in such a way as to make a real difference in the lives of inmates, staff and the animals.