— Brett Silva (@brettsilvaABC15) April 6, 2016
Thanks to a new program through the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, incarcerated veterans who served in the United States armed forces have some new weekly visitors to help them cope with stress and feel hopeful again. The dogs come from Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s no-kill animal shelter, MASH, which was created to help animals that have been abused or neglected by former owners and rescued by the Animal Crimes Investigations Unit.
— Justin Pazera (@justinpazera) April 6, 2016
Once a week, dogs from MASH visit the veterans pod at Towers Jail to spend time with the veterans. Not only does this help put inmates at ease, it shows them compassion, and the veterans learn compassion in return. One inmate even said that he felt the dogs’ affection would help him respond with empathy to future encounters with humans. The dogs benefit, as well, as they get to experience positive human interactions. The inmates and the dogs help each other on their roads to rehabilitation.
The MASH shelter is located in the First Avenue Jail and the dogs are cared for by the female inmates there. The inmates help the dogs learn to trust humans again so that they can be adopted out to forever families after recovering from their abuse. The sheriff hopes to expand the program to other inmates in the future. Dogs recover and go to good homes, and inmates take a step towards rehabilitation. Everyone wins!
Would you like to see more programs that actually rehabilitate criminals instead of just punishing them? Would you like to see dogs used in these programs more often? Let us know in the comments below!