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Prison-based animal programs: a descriptive analysis

By Alicia M. Loe

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There are many types of programs used in prisons. One such type is known as prison-based animal programs (PAPs). Prison-based animal programs bring animals into facilities in order to help offenders with emotional and behavioral problems. However promising these programs are, there is little empirical research. If these programs are to be continued, more research is needed. There has only been one national study looking at PAPs (Furst 2006). This current study will help fill the gap on PAP research. A national study was conducted using 302 randomly selected correctional facilities. Characteristics of PAPs were gathered through the use of a questionnaire. The results of this study showed similarities with the 2006 study. The most common types of prison-based animal programs in use are community service programs, service animal socialization programs, and those two combined as multimodal design programs. The majority of programs pair animals with inmates 24 hours a day. The most common animal used was dogs. An overwhelming number of respondents would recommend the program to another facility because of the number of benefits. There were very few negative aspects associated with PAPs. Overall, it seems that prison-based animal programs are a very promising technique, which not only benefits the participants, but also the animals, the institution, and the community.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Pages 143
Publisher University of Northern Colorado
Department Criminal Justice
Degree MA
University University of Northern Colorado
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. open access
  3. peer-reviewed
  4. prison-based animal programs
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed