USA: Puppies Behind Bars by Radhika Chalasani

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BEACON, NEW YORK:  The prisoners teach their puppies to follow commands in an outdoor courtyard during a Puppies Behind Bars class at Fishkill Correctional Facility. The program prepares puppies to be service dogs and consists of one day of class a week on topics such as obedience training, grooming, basic care of the dogs. The rest of the week prisoners keep the dogs with them as they go about their daily routine in the prison and train them on their own. ..The Puppies Behind Bars (PPB) Program works with prison inmates in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to train service dogs, including ones who help injured soldiers. The puppies arrive at 8 weeks-old and remain at the prisons, mostly working with one inmate, for 20 months. Fishkill Correctional Facility is a medium security prison in New York with 22 men in the puppy program. The emotional element of caring for the puppies breaks down the hard façade that most prisoners create for themselves to survive prison life.  Prisoners learn responsibility and pride in helping others. The program often gives them a new outlook on their crimes, their time in prison, and goals when they are released.