Press Release – Department Of Corrections
For the first time in New Zealand, puppies have been placed in a men’s prison to be trained by prisoners as Mobility Dogs. Spring Hill Corrections Facility is now home to four puppies, as a result of a partnership between the Corrections Department …14 March 2012
New puppy placement in men’s prison
For the first time in New Zealand, puppies have been placed in a men’s prison to be trained by prisoners as Mobility Dogs.
Spring Hill Corrections Facility is now home to four puppies, as a result of a partnership between the Corrections Department and the Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust.
Acting Prison Manager John Kanawa says training puppies can help rehabilitate prisoners, aiding the development of constructive behaviours, and building a sense of self esteem and responsibility.
“Our ultimate goal is to cut rates of re-offending. There will be big benefits for the prisoners involved in the dog training; overseas research shows that prisoners who train dogs are less likely to re-offend when they’re released.”
Mobility Dogs are trained to aid and assist a human partner 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can perform up to 50 different tasks.
Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust General Manager Jody Hogan says the Puppies in Prison programme means there are more dogs available for the disabled community.
“The dogs come out of the prison with a high level of training and they can be placed with recipients earlier, which means the quality of more lives is improved.”
Mr Kanawa says after just a week things are going extremely well.
“The puppies live with their handlers in self-care units inside the wire, which are an intermediate step between the prison and life in the community. The prisoners now have the chance to give back to the communities they’ve offended against.”
The puppies in prison programme at the Waikato prison will be based on the successful Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility model.
The Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust has borne the cost of the set up of the programme at Spring Hill Corrections Facility. The budget was around $5,000, and the Trust fundraised for this themselves. The ANZ Staff Foundation have funded $5,000. The Trust will be funding ongoing costs.