Correctional Service Canada
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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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Pet Facilitated Therapy in Correctional Institutions


D. Colorado State - Department of Corrections - Canon City, Colorado

There is both a practical and classroom component to this program. While in class, the inmates are very attentive to the instructor, asking questions, and taking notes. Participating in this program has taught inmates how to co-operate with each other and work together. Safety was a concern but through patience, control and compassion, the inmates have proved that this form of PFT can be quite safe and very beneficial to everyone at the institution.

For many inmates, this program has also changed their way of thinking. They used to be focused on drugs and alcohol, but now their attention is focused to the horses and other animals. Increased self confidence and a greater respect for both animals and people are the result of their new knowledge and skills. They also feel that time goes by much faster when they are working with animals. Staff see the advantages of this program reflected through the inmates’ behaviour. Initially, the other inmates labelled the participants as the "suicide squad" because they were willing to work with wild horses for only $0.50/day. Now everyone can see the wonderful benefits of doing so. Skills have been acquired, attitudes have changed and patience has grown because of participation in this program.