1/16/2014--Gig Harbor, WA, USA
The prison pet partnership at the Washington Corrections Center For Women in Gig Harbor, WASH. Here Alyssa Knight, 31, helps train a new dog that has arrived at the program to be trained asa service animal.
For years now, U.S. prisons have enjoyed success bonding incarcerated felons with “difficult” dogs, many of them abandoned and slated for euthanasia if they can’t be placed in new homes. The lucky ones go to jail, where inmates teach them to behave while the dogs, corrections experts believe, build their handlers’ own self-esteem as they become more adept in dog training. Top Dogs often become service pets, donated free of charge to programs assisting the blind and disabled. The rest become “parole pets,” offered to anyone ready to provide a good home. Human offenders who graduate from such programs often find post-incarceration work in dog care on the outside.
One prison with a Prison Pet Partnership Program is the Washington Corrections Center For Women in Gig Harbor. Gig Harbor has gotten so good training dogs—and cats, housed in a separate wing of the facility—the pet program incorporated as a non-profit to offer its services to “civilian” animals on the outside. The kennel is built for 28 dogs, but often holds as many as 40 pets, as some owners are willing to have their darlings “double up” in cells because the service is so good. And so cheap: $19 per pet per day, better than any alternative nearby
Photograph by Stuart Isett for The Wall Street Journal
©2014 Stuart Isett. All rights reserved.