At least one correctional facility has implemented a remarkable program that can benefit the public as well as inmates: having prisoners train service dogs for disabled children.
The program is part of the W.A.G.S. 4 Kids initiative, a group that connects mobility service and autism service animals with children in Northeast Ohio. At the moment, 24 inmates train 12 dogs at a time. Those dogs eventually go on and improve the lives of others.
Simultaneously, this could mean great benefits for the inmates themselves. Therapy dog programs have been shown to help patients tremendously and there’s every reason to believe the presence of friendly canines could improve the well-being of inmates as well. Lower blood pressure, relaxation of the mind, reduced anxiety, improved immune systems and higher levels of happiness and empathy have all resulted when test subjects have a fine furry friend around.
If this program continues to have good results, it might be an excellent tool for reducing violence inside the system and actually reforming inmates to curb recidivism outside the system.