Prisons all over the country have training programs for dogs, cats and even wild horses! These programs benefit both the animals and the justice-impacted folks who care for them and train them. Today, we’re highlighting dog training programs at Florida Prisons.
To learn more about dog training programs at Florida’s prisons, check out this handy resource list.
The programs benefit not only the animals and the people they serve once they’re trained, but also justice-impacted people themselves. For example, they learn skills that can help them get jobs after their sentence. But the benefits are more than just jobs once the sentence is over. Training animals gives people company and a sense of purpose, which benefits rehabilitation and mental health.
“When they’re training the dogs, it’s an escape,” said a photographer who photographed a training program in one Florida prison. “They’re smiling and interacting with the dogs that they’re training.”
Other Dog Training Programs at Prisons
More than 290 correctional facilities in the United States have similar programs, according to Prison Journal. Some programs focus on training puppies that will one day become service dogs for disabled people. I know a Golden Retriever that is a service dog for a friend who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This “very good boy” makes it possible for my friend to have a job and live a normal life. The dog was first trained as a puppy by women at a prison in West Virginia.
Other programs focus on rescue dogs from local animal shelters that are going up for adoption. Some programs, such as Larch Pet Training Program in Washington State work with both dogs and cats. One Arizona prison has a training facility where folks are training more than 30 wild horses and 20 wild burros at any given time!
What You Can Do
If have a loved one in prison who wants to work with animals, you may want to research available animal training programs. If your loved one is in the Florida Department of Corrections, you can start with this list. If they are in prison elsewhere, you can start by typing “prison dog training programs near me” in the Google search bar.