Saturday, May 16, 2009

Puppies Behind Bars

I know, I know. It has been awhile since I blogged. Blame work, blame my class, blame my lack of motivation. However. This morning, in the process of working (yes I realize it's Saturday), I came across the organization Puppies Behind Bars, and was so moved, I cried. Yes, tears fell on my work laptop.

Why all the emotion? Because of this video.

I believe that US prisons have long been broken. The primary goal of prisons is to punish people for their illegal acts, which the system does a fairly good job of. The second goal, however, is to rehabilitate them for their re-entry into society. And that is where the prison system is flawed. Counseling sessions and job training classes only go so far - many prisoners can't be reached. Puppies, however --- puppies can get in.

Puppies Behind Bars accomplishes two things: Training service dogs for disabled people, and rehabilitating prisoners. The dogs stay with the prisoners 24 hours a day, and the prisoners are responsible for training them and taking care of them. In return, they get love and loyalty from their dog, and the knowledge that the dog is going to help someone who really needs it - a disabled veteran or other disabled person.

The experience really seems to transform the prisoners, not to mention the person who receives the trained dog. The prisoners reconnect with the part of them that has empathy - a part lost long ago, and which probably led to them committing crime. I believe that participation in the program will lead to lower rates of recidivism, but Puppies Behind Bars does not have statistics available.

There are a lot of non-profits out there, but this one may now be my favorite (aside from OYFP of course). The win-win situation really inspires me, and moves me.

What do you think of the program?


Krystle said...

I first heard of the program from my ethnographer teacher in grad school. It's an AMAZING idea and for the most part is a win, win situation.

david said...

People who enter prison are people who are not aware of in doing people have the right to life imprisonment should be a place to learn to be a good man. The government should support in terms of financial

Rachel said...

I think this is a great program. On the one hand, inmates are learning a trade, how to train dogs, which is helpful outside of prison, in addition to the obvious emotional benefits of having an animal to take care of.. and the puppies arent there to keep them company; they're being trained to help a person in need. Like you said, win-win, all the way. Great post