Program helps dogs and inmates

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Duke the husky likes his daily walk and cuddles
Camera IconDuke the husky likes his daily walk and cuddles

WA’s only regional maximum security prison is taking in adorable dogs to be rehabilitated as part of a joint project with local animal welfare group SAFE Albany.

The program, which lets good-standing prisoners train rescue dogs, is helping Albany inmates to be more accountable, according to activities supervisor Frank Edwards.

Mr Edwards, who co-ordinates the dog adoption program, said there had been close to 100 dogs trained inside the prison since the program started eight years ago.

“The dogs seem to have a very calming effect on the prisoners,” he said.

“And I think the prisoners actually get benefit from doing something for someone else beside themselves.

“Training this dog will keep them busy. They could relax and enjoy the company of the dogs and the dogs are also being re-socialised — in return it will be easier for them to get adopted.”

Currently the prisoners are training an active husky named Duke, who loves his daily walks and jumping up to cuddle any humans he sees.

Albany Regional Prison Superintendent Charlie Tuck said the program had been successful for both the prison facility and the wider Albany community.

“What we’re doing here is we’re getting dogs that may possibly be euthanased, so we saved these dogs’ lives,” he said.

“We teach these dogs some skills that make them better and more ready to be rehoused.

“Hopefully we’re adjusting and modifying the prisoners’ behaviour as well ... to be able to care for the animal — and hopefully that can go back out to the community and make the community a safer place.”

Mr Edwards said the dog rehabilitation was a sought-after program among prisoners.

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