About the Program
Paws in Prison is made possible through ADC's partnership with animal shelters and advocate groups around the state. Selected inmates have the opportunity to become trainers of rescue dogs in the program. Inmates work with the dogs teaching them basic obedience skills and properly socializing the animals, making them more adoptable. Dogs spend approximately 8 to 10 weeks in training. Last year in Arkansas, hundreds of homeless dogs were euthanized.
The benefits of this program are three-fold. The Paws in Prison program reduces the number of animals who perish by better preparing them to be loving, obedient and adoptable pets. The program gives inmates the skills necessary to support successful rehabilitation and reentry – and ultimately improves public safety. At the same time, this is an opportunity for the inmates to do something positive for the communities of Arkansas. Since the program began December 8, 2011, ADC has seen a positive impact on daily interactions between inmates and employees, which ultimately improves security inside the prison.
ADC modeled its program after a similar one in the Missouri prison system. In August 2011, a four-person team representing ADC traveled to Missouri to see first-hand how that program operates and get ideas on how to implement a successful program in Arkansas. The group included Board of Corrections Vice Chair Mary Parker, former ADC Assistant Director Dina Tyler, former ADC Public Information Officer Shea Wilson, and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Executive Director of Development Renie Rule.
Rule has been instrumental in developing Arkansas’ program and is its founding patron. Without her generous personal donation, the program could not have started when it did.
Paws in Prison is supported by private donations and the sale of recyclables. You can donate online or mail your donation to Paws in Prison, c/o Arkansas Department of Correction, PO Box 8707, Pine Bluff, AR 71611. There is no state budget for the program.