Inmates were pre-screened before they were allowed to be involved in the Marley’s Mutts program.

By Lt. Edward Sanchez, AA/PIO
Photo by Michael Mock, TV Specialist

California State Prison, Corcoran

On Sept. 5, all seven dogs trained by inmates at CSP-Corcoran passed their American Kennel Club canine good citizen test with flying colors, according to organizers of Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue.

“I’m so glad we were able to see this round through to the finish,” said Facility Capt. Bonita Weaver.

During the Marley’s Mutts program, also known as Pawsative Change, inmates were chosen via application and interview by the Facility 3C Captain. Each inmate had to meet a certain criteria to be selected for the program from being physically fit, a minimum of six months left at CSP-Corcoran, no history of violence toward animals or children, as well as other strict criteria. The applicants were interviewed by the Facility 3C Captain and Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue team members, prior to being selected for the program.

The inmate trainers participated in classes taught by Marley’s Mutts, including two weeks of training prior to being assigned a dog.  Then the following 12-week training regimen would begin, with graduation on Week 14. The program was located in Facility 3C Housing Unit 3C05. The cells identified as Pawsitive Change dog cells were unlocked at 6:05 a.m. to facilitate access to the dog run adjacent to the building and main exercise yard. All supplies such as food, bedding, collars, leashes, crates and training materials were provided by Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescues. Veterinarian care consisted of routine examinations and shots, emergency services, spay/neuter services and all related supplies were also provided by Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue.

According to prison officials involved, the program was determined to be a success especially since it brought together all inmates from all ethnic backgrounds and security threat groups, reducing the violence and rule violations at the facility.

Warden Michael Sexton attended the graduation and spoke on his determination to bring the program to CSP-Corcoran and seeing it through to make the program successful.

Warden Sexton also commented on the satisfaction of seeing inmates coming together and the true bond the inmates in the program and the dogs had on one another.