Prison-based animal programs have several reasons for their establishment.
One is the fact that it allows for training of stray dogs. Those who wish to have them in their homes after successful training then adopt stray dogs.
The programs also prepare animals to assist individuals with mental or physical challenges (paws for progress, 2017).
Prisoners also develop renewed hope in life through the love for animals. When these prisoners get so much attached and used to the dogs, they start getting a new meaning of life.
Programs also give a chance to inmates to teach abused and neglected dogs some skills that help dogs assist people like skills of using wheelchairs. Besides, the programs help inmates to have companions and avoid feeling lonely.
The program is very effective in dealing with recidivism rates. Those inmates having gone through the program have low returning rates to prison as compared to those who have not gone through the program.
In America, the average rate of recidivism hovers around 50%.
Nonetheless, one program by the name Leader Dogs for the Blind shows reduced recidivism rates for the inmates (Neese, 2015).
The rates lies averagely at 12%. In general, the program seems effective for its purpose since the recidivism rates in most prisons are lowered to a greater degree due to the adoption of the program.
Effectiveness of prisoner rehabilitation statistics
It is surprising how effective pets behind bars rehabilitate prisoners.
Statistics indicate that by giving 100% responsibility an inmate over a pet, they tend to alter their behavior (Brown et al. 2016).
Inmates slowly learn to be responsible and mindful. Having them care for the pets and mind about their training sessions helps the prisoners to be someone reliable of making their decisions.
After release from prison, more than 50% of those inmates who went through the program achieve total rehabilitation. They become reliable citizens in the community once they are released.
Effectiveness on increased empathy
Prison dg training programs give an opportunity to inmates to teach and interact with the dogs that can improve the lives of inmates.
Inmates begin to learn how to understand other people’s feelings and situations (Jasperson, 2010).
Statistics shows that even though it is very hard to experience a man shading tears, separating an inmate from the pet at most times leads to shading of tears. Inmates after going through the program experience an improvement in social sensitivity.
Morale is boosted and the anxiety levels reduced in larger degrees.
Effectiveness of teaching responsibility
The program always requires that inmates spend at least two years training animals.
The bond that develops within those years ensures that after release, the prisoner effectively understands how to handle animals (Neese, 2015).
Trained dogs then assist people with a disability like loss of sight or hearing.
Amy Brown, Robert Wardle, Gordon Firsora, and Christian onwudiwe, (2016). " Rehabilitation in Prison: An Examination of Prison Animal Programs "Research Gate https://www.researchgate.net/publication/298101997_Rehabilitation_in_Prison_An_Examination_of_Prison_Animal_Programs
Brian Neese, (2015). Man’s Best Friend: How Dog Training is Affecting Prison Rehabilitation, Alvernia University. https://online.alvernia.edu/how-dog-training-is-affecting-prison-rehabilitation/
Pawsforprogress, (2017). Reflecting on 2016 and welcoming the start to 2017 with Paws for Progress…https://pawsforprogress.com/
Kirsty Scott, (2013). How dogs are teaching young offenders new tricks, The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/17/how-dogs-teaching-young-offenders
Jasperson, R. A. (2010). Animal-assisted therapy with female inmates with mental illness: A case example from a pilot program. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 49(6), 417-433.
Furst, G. (2006). Prison-based animal programs: A national survey. The Prison Journal, 86(4), 407-430.