Pups in Prison
The Pups in Prison Program began in 2002 as a way for Assistance Dogs Australia to train more dogs, while aiming to reduce re-offending behaviour by giving detainees skills to assist with rehabilitation.
One detainee who is part of the program said, “Instead of taking from society it provides us with the opportunity to actually give back. From criminal to contributor… I know that at times this job will not be easy, but I also know that this will be one of the most rewarding things we ever do. It will be rough when the time comes for the dogs to leave. But in spite of this heartache, I feel it will be well worth it.”
The Pups in Prison program runs all over Australia in partnership and with the support of relevant state government departments.
Which detainees are chosen?
Detainees must initially demonstrate their commitment and interest in the program and then undergo a rigorous interview process with both Assistance Dogs Australia and Corrective Services staff before they are chosen to be part of the program. They must also keep a clean behavioural record while in the program.
All detainees on the program truly want to help change the lives of people with disabilities. One said, “The dogs are a joy to work with and knowing that a person in the community with physical disabilities will benefit from all the hard work is all worth it. I will continue to be part of this program for the rest of my sentence.”