63 inmates and 34 dogs have already successfully completed training in the Philadelphia Prison System over the last two years
Non-profit New Leash on Life USA is sending more dogs to prison. The innovative training program – one of the first of its kind in the nation – is expanding to include a second facility in the Philadelphia region, The Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Graterford, after a successful 3-month pilot session.
The additional facility will allow New Leash to save even more at-risk shelter dogs and help prepare more inmates for successful re-entry into society, said Marian V. Marchese, the group’s Executive Director.
A pilot session began at Graterford in early-April with four dogs living 24/7 with their inmate trainers for three months. Inmate trainers received intense weekly workshops from a certified dog trainer, a veterinary technician and a life-skills facilitator and help prepare the dogs for adoption by the public. The skills the inmates learn through this program help them become better equipped for employment after parole.
Future sessions at Graterford will include additional training of the dogs to become Therapeutic Companion animals for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. New Leash on Life USA will donate these dogs to the qualified veterans.
The expansion of New Leash on Life USA follows six successful classes in the Philadelphia Prison System with the graduation of 63 inmates and the rescue of 34 dogs, most of which were scheduled to be euthanized. Among the 63 graduates, fourteen inmate trainers who have successfully completed the program obtained full-time work in the animal care field as well as other non-animal related positions. Two of the dogs are continuing training as service dogs.
ABOUT NEW LEASH ON LIFE USA
New Leash on Life USA is a new generation prison dog-training program that saves the lives of at-risk shelter dogs by training inmates to train and socialize the dogs for adoption. For more information on New Leash on Life USA visit www.newleashonlife-usa.org or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/