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Arkansas Paws in Prison Foundation is committed to rehabilitating inmates and giving rescue dogs a second chance at life by preparing them to be loving, obedient, adoptable pets. Our program pairs inmate trainers with rescue dogs for eight to ten weeks of obedience training and socialization in preparation for adoption. Because the dogs are properly socialized and trained, their chances of adoption improve drastically, and the risk of being returned to a shelter for unruly behavior decreases significantly. Many of the dogs that have graduated from the program have become therapy animals and service dogs, including the first water leak detection dog in the U.S.. Paws in Prison collaborates with six animal shelters and rescues throughout the state to advance its goal to reduce the number of dogs languishing in shelters and reduce the number of dogs euthanized each year in Arkansas. Since the program began in 2011, more than 1,600 dogs have been rescued, trained, and adopted by loving forever families.
Additionally, Arkansas Paws in Prison strives to decrease recidivism rates by providing incarcerated individuals with the opportunity to give back to the community and acquire skills that support successful rehabilitation and re-entry into society. Many of the trainers are hired for animal-related jobs after parole. A number of released participants have dedicated their lives to saving animals and work for Paws in Prison's partner rescues and shelters, and several have established successful careers as service dog trainers. One former inmate trainer now works in the prisons as a professional dog training instructor, teaching inmates in the program and serving as an example of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication after incarceration.
Over the last eight years, Arkansas Paws in Prison has continued to build its capacity to accommodate 50 dogs per training cycle and 100 inmate trainers at a time and has expanded to six prison facilities throughout the state.