Prison dog training programs
The aims are to identify best practices for implementing prison dog training programs and to measure the impacts of these programs on inmates, staff, and the dogs.
Dog training programs are prevalent in prisons across the US and are gaining popularity internationally. My research group is focused on identifying best practices for implementing these programs and on the impacts they have on inmates, staff and the dogs themselves.
In a pilot study conducted in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Corrections, statistically significant improvements in infraction rates, an indicator of safety within the prison environment, were measured for inmates upon entry into dog training programs and compared to inmates not involved in dog training. Significantly higher empathy and lower anxiety were also measured for the inmates working with dogs using validated instruments.
Our group is now working with programs across the US to identify common and best practices for implementing dog training programs in both US and international correctional environments.