Working with animals is truly one of the most therapeutic things that can happen in prison. It does change hearts and minds.
CANON CITY, Colo. (CBS4) ―
At the Colorado Territorial Correction Facility in Canyon City, inmate Christopher Vogt is serving a 36-year prison sentence for second degree murder. He'll be eligible for parole in about 10 years. Vogt was one of the first inmates to take part in the prison dog program when it started more than six years ago. He wiped away his tears and said, "I have watched this program change a bunch of people here," and he admits it's changed him too.
The Prison Dog program is a privileged prison program. Inmates apply by application and interview. They're required to have six months of good behavior, a GED, and not be a sex offender. In the program, each inmate lives in a private cell that they access with their own key. Each cell also has a kennel for their dog. The inmates spend 24 hours a day with their canine. Some are rescued from shelters and puppy mills and are available for adoption. Others are taken to the prison by their owners for training. All of the dogs receive weeks of obedience training to be pets, or search-and-rescue dogs, or companion dogs. A dog right now in the prison is training to be a service dog for a man with cerebral palsy.