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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Pet Facilitated Therapy in Correctional Institutions

Appendix I
An Overview Of PFT Programs In Correctional Institutions

CANADA

BRITISH COLUMBIA PRISON PROGRAMS INVOLVING ANIMALS

Maple Ridge, British Columbia

The Alouette River Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge has an extensive aquaculture program utilizing offender labour. The Allco Hatchery is a salmonoid restoration project for the Alouette River system in partnership with Federal and Provincial fisheries agencies. The Stave Lake Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge has a net pen rearing site which is the sole supplier of rainbow trout for many small lakes. This prison also has an animal shelter which cares for and releases wildlife such as eagles, owls, and deer.

The Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women (BCCW) has a canine program that operates as a small revenue generating business that focuses on grooming and kennelling for the public.

CALGARY WILDLIFE REHABILITATION SOCIETY

Calgary, Alberta

Since 1994 this society has worked with two prisons in the United States, involving inmates in wildlife rehabilitation. The inmates provide long-term care for injured wildlife received by Calgary veterinarians from the general public. They also help with a quarterly newsletter and keep wildlife case records, thus learning marketable business skills.

NOVA INSTITUTION FOR WOMEN

Truro, Nova Scotia

Pawsitive Directions is a canine-handler training program to introduce women inmates to the basics of dog husbandry and training. Upon successful completion of the initial phase of the program, the inmates will be qualified to train homeless animals, obtained from the SPCA and other sources, for eventual placement in family homes. In the second year of operation, Pawsitive Directions will initiate a program to train assistance-dogs for use by physically disabled and hearing disabled residents in Nova Scotia (Logan, 1996).

 

UNITED STATES

PRISON-PET-PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM (PPPP)

WASHINGTON STATE CORRECTIONS CENTER FOR WOMEN (WCCW)

Gig Harbor, Washington

This program began in the early 1980s and provides custom training dogs to people with disabilities. PPPP also offers community college instruction for prisons in grooming, canine husbandry and behaviour, and obedience training for dogs from the humane society shelter, thus improving chances for satisfactory adoption of the dogs. One of the most exciting developments is that a few of the prison-trained dogs can detect the onset of seizures in people even before they become manifest.

PEOPLE-ANIMALS-LOVE (PAL)

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

Lorton, Virginia

PAL was founded in 1982 and offers placement of animals (cats, birds, fish and rabbits) and has established a club where animal needs are discussed and animal care instruction is given. A vocational course in animal health technology has been developed with assistance from the personnel of the National Institutes of Health and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Upon release, many graduates of this course have found jobs in laboratory animal facilities.

COLORADO WILD HORSE INMATE PROGRAM

FOUR MILE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

Canon City, Colorado

This program began in 1986 at the Fremont Correctional Facility. In cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management and the American Humane Association, it offered rehabilitation program through which inmates were taught horsemanship, animal husbandry, ferrier and veterinary technician skills. An average of 25 inmates are enrolled in an Equine Management course designed to prepare them for employment upon their release. (Until 1995 they could receive college credit for the course.) The facility is the largest in the world for training wild horses, and by 1996 had trained over 2700 inmates and about 4000 horses. The program also offers training of privately owned horses than have been deemed untrainable by other training operations.

CENTRAL NEW MEXICO CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

PET VISITATION PROGRAM

Los Lunas, New Mexico

Docents from the zoo and volunteers from the humane society and Wonderful World of Pets made weekly visits to the correctional facility with an assortment of zoo and other animals. Instruction was given regarding the history, needs and personalities of the animals.

LEADER DOG PROJECT

HURON VALLEY WOMEN’S CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

Ypsilanti, Michigan

This program was established in 1988 to provide disability service agencies with a source of dogs that were socialized and given basic training by the women inmates. After one year at the facility, dogs are sent to the Rochester Leader Dog School for final training. Selected inmates learn training and grooming skills as well as learning of the needs and accomplishments of people with disabilities. Dogs are taken throughout the prison so that as many inmates as possible have contact with them. This helps in the dogs’ socialization and also benefits inmates.

FRIENDS FOR FOLKS

LEXINGTON ASSESSMENT AND RECEPTION CENTER

Lexington, Oklahoma

This program began in July 1990 and allows long-term inmates to train animals from local shelters as companions for single elderly people or as service dogs for people with disabilities. Prisoners are rotated through the program so as many as possible are involved. In the new High Intensity Training program (HIT), dog owners can have their pets trained in 30 days for a donation of $50.00

PET-GROOMING PROGRAM

PITCHESS DETENTION CENTER

Castaic, California

In this program, inmates learn to groom dogs and cats from a country animal shelter, improving the animal’s chances of being adopted. For a fee of $10, inmates also groom pets belonging to jail employees; these fees cover the costs involved in grooming the shelter animals. As of August 1996, an inmate’s sentence is reduced by about five days for every 20 days worked in the grooming unit. On completion of 120 hours work, each participating inmate receives an adult education certificate. Several former students have obtained jobs in the pet industry.

PROJECT POOCH

MACLAREN SCHOOL, OREGON YOUTH AUTHORITY

Woodburn, Oregon

Project POOCH (Positive Opportunities - Obvious Change with Hounds) began in 1993 at this juvenile correctional facility for males. Juvenile offenders adopt dogs from two local humane societies and give the dogs obedience training with the help of their classroom teacher, who is also a dog trainer. The dogs are then adopted by families in the community. This program is an approved vocational program. All the students who have participated have decreased their number of office referrals, and show improved self-esteem, patience, responsibility, and vocational skills. Project POOCH II, now being developed, will add dog grooming, kennel management, and veterinary technician training for long-term residents.

SCOTLAND

COMMUNITY SERVICES AQUATIC CLUB

SAUGHTON PRISON

Edinburgh, Scotland

Long-term prisoners began working in 1978 in cooperation with Stirling University Marine Biology Department rearing fish, chiefly for Third World countries. Through this program, breeding stocks were improved and thousands of fish were sent to developing countries to increase food supplies. Prawn production were developed, and some prisoners also developed an aviary. The edible fish breeding program has been terminated, but prisoners still breed tropical fish, which they exchange for food and equipment. Some raise budgies and cockatiels in their cells. Surplus birds are given to hospitals or to elderly people and children in need.

AUSTRALIA

PETS AS THERAPY PROGRAM (PAT)

ADELAIDE WOMEN’S PRISON

Northfield, South Australia

This program began in 1988 to help people who have disabilities or are otherwise disadvantaged. Selected inmates are involved in supervised training of the PAT dogs in special tasks, including socialization of the dogs at nearby nursing homes and special education schools. By 1996, over 200 inmate-trained dogs had been placed with individuals and families, including victims of crime, socially isolated individuals, children with cerebral palsy, and people with intellectual disabilities, paraplegia or quadriplegia. A controlled study (Walsh and Merten, 1994) showed increase self-esteem and decreased levels of depression among participating inmates.

GUIDE DOG PROGRAM

BEECHWORTH TRAINING PRISON

Beechworth, Victoria

This program began in 1974 and was probably the first of its kind in Australia. Puppies are placed in the care of selected low security prisoners who are responsible for the dog’s kennel hygiene, grooming, feeding and exercise. Special permission has been given for the handlers to take the dogs into the shopping area of Beechworth, to expose them to street and traffic conditions, shops and crowds.

ENGLAND

THE GARTH PRISON PET PROGRAM

Lancashire, England

This program began in 1992 and over 70 inmates had birds in their cells. Additionally, the prisoners had built two aviaries and were breeding birds for distribution to elderly and disadvantaged people in the community. Fish tanks with tropical fish were set up in the gymnasium and visiting areas. Inmates were involved in their care and breeding. Pets care classes were held in the evenings in conjunction with the education department. Environmental issues and wildlife knowledge were included. The most distinctive feature of the Garth initiative is the coordinated approach to the pet program, involving several departments in the prison.

SOUTH AFRICA

COMPANION ANIMAL PROGRAMS

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES

South Africa

PFT programs were introduced to South African prisons in the mid-1980s. In this system, pets are used as an incentive for good behaviour. Prisoners are divided into groups of A and B on the basis of good behaviour, which is reassessed every six months. Among other privileges, group A prisoners are allowed to keep pets. They are responsible for taking care of their animals, including buying food for them.