A new program has prisoners getting dogs as their new cellmates.
The Canine CellMates team set up the scheme, which matches each prisoner with a dog awaiting adoption.
The pair keep each other company around the clock, with the inmate responsible for training the dog so it will be more appealing for potential owners.
The program has had a profound impact on both the creatures and prisoners.
“Most of these guys gave up believing that there was very much of value to them a long time ago. But when that dog loves them and trusts them that starts to change how they feel about themselves,” Susan Jacobs-Meadows, executive director of the CellMates team, told CNN.
One of the prisoners added:
“The bond that me and Fred have – he came to a place where he was going to be put to death and I came from a place that was on the bad side. If Fred can have an opportunity to go to a good home and he can change, that makes me want to change the environment that I’m in. That means I can do better also.”
According to the team’s website, the program started back in June 2013 and currently operates at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Our mission is to provide a better life for both the inmates in the Fulton County Jail and rescued shelter dogs from FCAS. During an intensive 8 week course consisting of education, training and overall care for the dogs, we hope to positively change both the dogs and the inmates,” it said.
“During the 8 week program, each inmate has the opportunity to train and bond with their assigned dog. At the end of the training course, our goal is for the dogs to pass the Canine Good Citizen test and graduate from our program into a wonderful, forever home. We also aim to provide viable job skills for the inmates and create a new overall lease on life for both the dogs and the inmates.”