Puppies for Parole

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Considering all the news about waste and inefficiency in government, it's good to hear stories of private/public partnerships that are making an impact on communities.

Last February, the Missouri Department of Corrections implemented a program called Puppies for Parole. Through the program, dogs from animal shelters and animal advocacy groups are trained by inmates. The program is a win-win proposition as the dogs are better trained after their time with their inmate trainers, making their chances of being adopted that much better.

While the dogs and shelters benefit from the program, so do the inmates. The inmates have an opportunity to interact with the dogs, take on a responsibility while in prison and do something that benefits the communities around them -- all of which assist in their rehabilitation.

Twelve of the state's 20 prisons currently participate in the program and two more are expected to start in the coming months. George Lombardi, director of the Missouri Department of Corrections, said the program is about to adopt its 200th dog.

While the program is a success by qualitative measures, it's also fiscally sound. Puppies for Parole operates without the use of taxpayer dollars.

All those involved in Puppies for Parole, from the Department of Corrections to shelter leaders to the inmate trainers, should be recognized for the good work they are doing through this program.

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