Lakeland and Florence Crane correctional facilities have recently partnered with Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan (RPSM) to form a prisoner/dog foster care and training program.
On February 11, 2008, RPSM began providing dogs to the prisons. The dogs will stay approximately 3 months during which time they are cared for by prisoners who are trained handlers. The dogs will be house broken, socialized, obedience trained, and most of all, loved.
The benefits for Branch County from this program will be immeasurable. Through teamwork between the prison system and RPSM, dogs that may have otherwise been euthanized will be given a chance to find a new home. All expenses will be covered by RPSM through donations. The Coldwater Complex dog program has been in operation since August, 2006.
In conjunction with the National Greyhound Foundation, their program "Second Chance at Life" (SCAL) is one that rescues retired racing greyhounds that unless adopted, would be euthanized after their racing career has been completed.
The dogs are placed in the prison system for approximately 10 weeks where they are housebroken, socialized, obedience trained, and basically taught how to be house pets. At the end of their time in prison, the dogs are taken to their "forever homes" and replaced (the same day) with a new dog so that the prisoner can move forward into a new challenge with minimal grief at the loss of the dog. Prior to "exchange" day, a graduation ceremony is held and certificates of accomplishment are presented to the prisoners from the Greyhound Foundation as well as from the Warden.
The dogs live with the prisoners in a common area and learn the concept of "unconditional love" for the very fist time through their interaction with the inmates as well as canine social skills with the other dogs.
The entire complex, (prisoners and staff), have benefited from the SCAL program. The greyhounds are generally well-mannered. After living most of their lives in cages, they seem to thrive on the attention and dorm-living arrangements. They seem to be smiling and their attitude is contagious. The sight of greyhounds walking across the grounds with their handlers and being petted by other prisoners and staff brings a sense of joy to everyone. To say that this program has reduced boredom and tension would be an understatement.
Completely financed by the National Greyhound Foundation, the only cost to the institution is inmate wages. The benefit to the prisoners is, without question, beyond any expectations. Not only does the program assist with the provision of jobs and addresses inmate idleness, the prisoners also gain experience in areas that they may never have ever been exposed to responsibility for another living creature, receiving of unconditional love, affection, and many other benefits.
For more information on this great program please visit: