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UNF professor visits California to observe Prison-Dog Rehabilitation Program

Dr. Jennifer Wesely standing beside a dog and members who benefitted from the Paws for Life programDr. Jennifer Wesely, a University of North Florida professor of criminology & criminal justice, recently visited a maximum-security California state prison in Los Angeles County to advance her research on inmate rehabilitation programs and learn from a group of incarcerated men in the Paws for Life K9 Rescue prison program.

Prison-Dog Rehabilitation Programs have benefits for both dogs and humans. In Paws for Life, dogs are rescued from high-kill shelters in the LA area, and incarcerated men train, care for and socialize the animals. Dogs go to adoptive families, with some being trained for adoption by military veterans with PTSD. Dr. Wesely is researching how programs like Paws for Life also profoundly affect human participants. For instance, Paws for Life has resulted in more life sentences being commuted than any other prison program in California.

According to Paws for Life, some of the program’s graduates have gone on to work at non-profit organizations, became professional dog trainers or business owners, and otherwise successfully reenter society after their incarceration.

Learn more about the Paws for Life K9 Rescue prison program.