Sherman Noble and James Dulaney meet their dog during the Paws in Prison program kickoff
TUCKER, Ark (KTHV) -- The Arkansas Department of Correction kicked off its Paws in Prison program Thursday in Tucker at the Tucker Unit.
"Out of the 18 years I've been here, this is a first. So this is really huge for us." says inmate James Dulaney. He is one of the 32 inmates meeting his new dog. Well, the dog he'll take care of for about 8 weeks anyway. And this is a "first" And a "first" for the state of Arkansas.
"This program will save animals that would have otherwise perished. It will provide a positive program for inmates." says
Shea Wilson with the Arkansas Department of Correction. She says it's exciting to launch the Paws in Prison program in Arkansas. "They will be socialized with other dogs and...be obedient and loving pets. Therefore making them more adoptable and attractive to people who may want to adopt them later from C.A.R.E. and other animal shelters we will be partnering with."
James Dulaney and Sherman Noble are already bonding with their dog. Dulaney has been incarcerated for 18 years - for capital murder. He says, "It was a bad thing and anything I can do for society I'm willing to do. It won't bring back life but I'm hoping I can give somebody else a new start."
Founder and volunteer Renie Rule says this is so much more than just training dogs good behavior. She says, "This is a way for many of these inmates to give back to the community to make right some things in their own lives that haven't gone so well. "
The inmates were chosen by their wardens for their good behavior and interest in the program. All the inmates renamed their dogs and will begin training immediately to prep these dogs for adoption. Some of the dogs' new names include Brownie, Buckshot and Buddy.
The program reduces the number of animals who perish by allowing inmates to train them to be loving, obedient and adoptable pets. The inmates benefit by gaining skills necessary to support successful rehabilitation and improve public safety. Dulaney and Noble named their dog "Sky". Dulaney says, "The sky is a wide range. It represents freedom. The sky's the limit. That's why we named this dog Sky!"
The program will be introduced in the Randall Williams Correctional Facility in Pine Bluff, Tucker Unit, Ouachita River Correctional Unit in Malvern and the A.J. Hawkins Center for Women at Wrightsville.