Absolute Trust

Reprinted from PN March 2004

Service-dog training helps dispel distrust and fear behind bars.

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More than 20 successful prison-pet programs have been documented. Inmates learn valuable lessons as well as vocational skills.

You may recently have seen “Cell Dogs,” a compelling series of programs carried by the Animal Planet television network. One episode spotlighted the Rockville Correctional Facility in Indiana. Built in 1995, this medium-security women’s penitentiary houses 1,150 inmates—and 9 cell dogs, rescued canines in training as service animals for children with physical disabilities.

With the shortage of service dogs, programs such as this have sprung up nationwide. This article profiles one of those: The Second Chance Prison Canine Program, coordinated by Gayle Woods. A longtime Tucson, Ariz., resident, Woods has a unique perspective of the daily challenges facing people with disabilities; she has MS.


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