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At Wasco, 17 inmates helped 8 dogs improve behavior enough that the dogs were adoptable. A graduation ceremony was held to help all those involved.

By Lt. Martin Herrera, AA/PIO
Wasco State Prison-Reception Center

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An inmate holds a dog that would have been put down if not for the inmates rehabilitating it.

Wasco State Prison- Reception Center (WSP-RC) held a graduation ceremony earlier this month for 17 inmates and 8 dogs that completed the 14-week Pawsitive Change program. Pawsitive Change is an intense rehabilitation program that pairs dogs headed for death row and inmates locked up in California state prisons.

The Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue implemented the Pawsitive Change program at WSP-RC in 2017.

Through the Pawsitive Change program, inmates have been successful in learning skills and earning vocational accreditation while the dogs, through improved behavior, have been “granted parole” through adoption.

Warden John Sutton said: “It’s great to see the positive influence this program has had on the inmates who have completed it.  Many of our staff members have also grown to love these dogs, some to the extent of adopting and taking them home.”

(Editor’s note: Some websites may not be available from a CDCR computer.)

Learn more about the program at https://www.marleysmutts.org/pawsitive-change-prison-program/

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Chief Deputy Warden H. Shirley addressies the inmate participants.