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Prisoners and dogs better off after program has them live together

October 18th, 2019

Inmates in Atlanta, Georgia at the Fulton County Jail are blessed to be a part of a program where they can train dogs from a local shelter. Both parties are rewarded by the benefits. The inmates are provided a companion and are taught responsibility and the dogs are provided a caring home before being adopted.

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YouTube Screenshot: CNN Source: YouTube Screenshot: CNN

Canine CellMates has been running since 2013.

Founded on June 3, 2013, the Canine CellMates program began by introducing dogs from a local shelter to inmates at the Fulton County Jail. The jail and the program saw an opportunity for the inmates to gain valuable, transferable skills after they serve their sentence. They also saw the blessing of allowing the dogs to develop their social skills and be trained by a constant companion.

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YouTube Screenshot: CNN Source: YouTube Screenshot: CNN

The mission of the program is to “…provide a program that is as much about rehabilitation and the reduction of recidivism as it is about saving shelter dogs.”

After the dogs spend time in jail with the inmates, they are put up for adoption with the ultimate goal of being adopted. The inmates are also encouraged after going through the program. The dogs live with the inmates for 24 hours a day for a two-month-long program.

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Canine CellMates Source: Canine CellMates

Inmates gain valuable skills as they train and care for the dogs.

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YouTube Screenshot: CNN Source: YouTube Screenshot: CNN

Each inmate is paired with a dog and the program is eight weeks long. The inmates arrive for a one-week orientation before the dogs arrive. They spend the whole next week bonding and getting used to being in a routine with each other.

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YouTube Screenshot: CNN Source: YouTube Screenshot: CNN

The dogs often during that first week need to destress after coming from the shelter. The dogs and inmates featured in this video have each formed a special connection with each other.

Inmates gain valuable skills as they train and care for the dogs.

The inmates follow a training manual and stick to a training schedule. The men are sharpening their skills in how to handle a structured schedule. The dogs provide them with a sense of accomplishment as they watch their efforts and training methods being put to good use.

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YouTube Screenshot: CNN Source: YouTube Screenshot: CNN

Joseph says, “The program has changed me. He has showed me responsibility and taught me how to have patience.”

As the dogs respond to the training, the men see their training reflected in the dog’s behavior and they see their hard work pay off.

The dogs provide emotional support and confidence-building for the inmates.

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YouTube Screenshot: CNN Source: YouTube Screenshot: CNN

Troy explains, “The bond that me and Fred have…he came to a place that he was gonna 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 in the environment that we’re in, that makes me want to change the environemt that I’m in and that means I can do better also.”

What a great program that is a blessing to the inmates and the dogs. Everyone benefits from a well-thought-out program that is making a difference in many lives.

Check it out below!

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Source: CNN

Source: Canine Cellmates

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