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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 199931 Find in a Library
Title: Healing Inmates' Hearts and Spirits with Man's Best Friend
Journal: Corrections Today Magazine  Dated:April 2003  Pages:122-123,146
Author(s): Shannon J. Osborne; Renee Bair
Date Published: April 2003
Page Count: 3
Type: Program Description (Demonstrative)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes the Kit Carson Correctional Center’s dog-training program for inmates.
Abstract: The dog-training program at the Kit Carson Correctional Center in Colorado uses inmate handlers to provide trained canines to community agencies who, in turn, provide the dogs to people with disabilities. The Service Dog Training Program began in March 2002, in cooperation with the Canine Assistance, Rehabilitation, Education and Services (CARES) organization, a local nonprofit agency that supplies trained dogs to the elderly, disabled people, children, and adults to assist them in independent living. The program helps inmates by providing job training and the therapeutic functions of healing hearts and spirits. The program works by providing inmates with a canine that accompanies the inmate everywhere in the correctional facility, including living in the inmates’ cell. The inmate handlers follow a strict schedule that begins at 5:30 a.m. and concludes at 9 p.m. Inmate handlers must take their dogs for scheduled bathroom breaks and exercise breaks; they must train their dogs in certain skills; and must ensure that the dogs learn how to love, trust, and bond with people. The dog-training program not only benefits the community by providing trained canines to those in need, it also has benefits for the inmates who participate in the popular program. The program has been shown to have a positive effect on inmates’ morale and physical health. Inmates with health or discipline problems have shown considerable improvement in health and attitude within a very short time of being paired with a canine. As such, the Service Dog Training Program is considered a successful inmate program.
Main Term(s): Inmate Programs; Model programs
Index Term(s): Colorado; Corrections canine units; Inmate health; Morale; Social service agencies
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