Prison dog training programs, which emerged in the 1980s, have been gaining popularity at both a national and international level. The programs allow inmates to train dogs as service animals for veterans and first responders. After reading several different research projects that examined the impact of dog training programs in prison, the majority of them show that there are a lot of benefits and a few challenges. The beneficial impact was examined both with an in-person walkthrough of a prison with the program and through a series of interviews conducted for the purposes of this study. Interviews were conducted with Sister Pauline Quinn, the founder of prison dog training programs; Patricia Barnhart, who previously managed a dog training program at a Florida prison; the director at New Life K9s, Nicole Hern, and all the inmates in the New Life K9s prison program at the Men’s Colony prison in California. Bringing dogs into prisons has created a change in inmate behavior, staff behavior, and a safer, calmer environment for those within the prison. Calming the prison environment allows inmates to develop skills they can take with them when they leave prison, which in turn will help reduce recidivism. The research suggests that starting a dog training program in the state of Arizona could significantly benefit the state prison system, community and everyone involved.
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