Our Prison Pup Program is an excellent example of a rehabilitation program that really works.
In September of 2002, the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Chino, CA, became the first prison within the state of California to have a Service Dog Training Program. Canine Support Teams is proud of its “Prison Pup Program” where the inmate trainers play a vital role in the advanced training of our service dogs for the disabled community.
CST has gone on to start 3 additional programs at; the Riverside County-Southwest Juvenile Hall, (RCSJH) the California Institution for Men (CIM) & The California Rehabilitation Center (CRC).
CST Founder and CEO, Carol Roquemore, takes joy in the fact that in addition to serving those with disabilities, the Prison Pup Program also positively impacts the lives of the participants. “We’ve seen many inmate trainers go on to be gainfully employed in the animal training and animal care industry upon their release from the prison system. Nearly every single Prison Pup Program participant has stayed out of prison after their release, so we know that our program is an excellent example of a rehabilitation effort that really works.”
At the CIW, CIM & CRC programs, the dogs are assigned to an inmate trainer at 18 months of age, after being raised in a puppy raiser home where they are well socialized and taught obedience skills. They remain at the prison for 4-6 months. CST staff provides training to the inmate handlers weekly, training them to become dog trainers, behavior & service dog specialist. This is one of the longest standing prison dog programs in the nation!
The program at RCSJH teaches dog handling & basic training skills to the minor participants using shelter dogs that are rescued and re-homed after their 14 weeks of training. All dogs graduate with the AKC-Canine Good Citizen title.
CIW- Inmate training dog to retrieve
CIW- Inmates teach a dog to say it's prayers
CIW- Inmate trainers welcome Sr. Pauline Quinn (who founded the first Prison Dog Program in 1981 at Gig Harbor Prison, Washington state)
CIW- Practicing recall (come)
CIW- Christmas celebration
CIW- Practicing down/stay
CIW- Advanced inmate trainer teaching new trainers. This is part of our Instructor Certification program for inmate trainers.
CIW- Volunteer Steve Hicks working with dog on wheelchair (learning to walk next to an wheelchair isn't as easy as you might think)
CIW- Dog learning to open/close cabinet doors.
CIW- Practicing loose lead walking
CIW- Volunteer Steve Hicks testing the dogs down/stay with the distraction of a wheelchair
CIW- Learning "Go-In" - Dogs must go under tables in restaurants.
CIW- CST's Shara Butterworth & Carol Roquemore show inmate trainers how the dogs must work with a wheelchair.
CIW- Inmate trainers getting tips from CST Training Director Shara Butterworth
CIW - Waiting your turn is a virtue
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Riverside county Probation story on CST's Southwest Juvenile Hall program.
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CST is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing assistance/service dogs to people with disabilities other than blindness.
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