A new partnership between Beechworth Correctional Centre and a local animal rescue program is helping rehabilitate prisoners while finding loving homes for abandoned dogs at the same time.
Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney visited the minimum-security prison to tour the facility and meet with the officers and prisoners involved in the program.
The prison came on board after learning Wodonga Dog Rescue needed help to accommodate an increase in abandoned animals.
The dogs are cared for and trained by prisoners for six weeks before they are sent back to Wodonga Dog Rescue to be re-housed with a suitable home.
Prisoners have built the kennels and yards, with selected inmates tasked with caring for the dogs and looking after them fulltime including taking them for walks.
The program isn’t just giving a home to abandoned dogs; it’s also helping with prisoner rehabilitation – teaching them important skills they can use after their release.
The prison is currently onto its third cycle of dogs, with all of the animals from the prison successfully adopted out to new homes.
Corrections Victoria also partners with Greyhound Racing Victoria through the Prison Pet Partnership Program, where ex-racing dogs are trained by selected prisoners so they are suitable for adoption.
The program is currently operating at two other minimum-security prisons, Dhurringile Prison and Tarrengower women’s prison.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney
“The prisoners participating in this program are learning valuable skills, which helps with their rehabilitation and reduces the risk of re-offending after they complete their sentence.”
“It’s great to see a prison creating a program that not only supports its prisoners but also helps gives back to the local community.”