Since 2008, these dogs have spent their formative years in a Texas women's prison, enriching the lives of the inmates who train them even before they meet their veteran companions.
The prison program started when the Texas Department of Criminal Justice contacted Patriot PAWS founder Lori Stevens to offer inmates at its Gatesville, Texas, facility as service dog trainers. Lori, who was already training service dogs for veterans, was looking to expand her program. Now 75 percent of Patriot PAS dogs start out with inmate trainers.
The program has had positive effects on the inmates, too. Inmates learn job skills, and among the inmates involved in Patriot PAWS, only one in 39 have returned to prison.
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