About the Program
Arkansas Paws in Prison is committed to rehabilitating inmates and giving shelter dogs a second chance at life through a mutually beneficial, inmate instructed, canine training program. Selected inmates have the opportunity to become trainers of rescue dogs in the program. Inmates work with the dogs teaching them basic obedience skills and properly socializing the animals, making them more adoptable. Paws in Prison is made possible through ADC's partnership with animal shelters and rescue groups around the state.
The benefits of the program are three-fold. The Paws in Prison program reduces the number of dogs euthanized each year in Arkansas by preparing them to be loving, obedient, and adoptable pets. Since the program’s inception, more than 1000 shelter dogs have been trained and adopted out to the public. Inmate trainers are able to contribute to society and acquire skills that support successful rehabilitation and re-entry into society, which improves public safety. Since the program began on December 8, 2011, ADC has seen a positive impact on daily interactions between inmates and employees, which ultimately improves security inside the prison.
ADC modeled its program after a similar one in the Missouri prison system. In August 2011, a four-person team traveled to Missouri to see first-hand how that program operates and get ideas on how to implement a successful program in Arkansas. The group included Chair of the UALR Department of Criminal Justice Dr. Mary Parker, former ADC Assistant Director Dina Tyler, former ADC Public Information Officer Shea Wilson, and Arkansas Hospice Foundation Executive Director Renie Rule.
Arkansas Paws in Prison Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. You can make a tax-deductible donation online or by mail. Please send checks to Paws in Prison, 6814 Princeton Pike, Pine Bluff, AR 71602. There is no state budget for the program. It is supported by donations and the sale of recyclables.