Prison pups deliver new purpose
WHEN Kris was sentenced to life in prison, he didn’t expect to spend the long nights cuddled up to a 10-week-old labrador pup named Oxley.
Oxley joined three other pups to enter Ipswich’s Borallon Correctional Centre last week, where eight maximum security prisoners will be responsible for full-time care of the assistance dogs-in-training.
This is the first time the program will run in an Australian maximum security prison.
The offenders will teach them basic obedience commands to prepare them for helping people with a disability. These tasks include opening doors, fetching phones and mail, picking up dropped items and paying cashiers at shops.
Kris, 29, will share the task with Matthew, a fellow lifer, and a corrections officer.
“Over the years in jail normal emotions such as love and affection are suppressed,” Kris said.
“This program gives people like me, who have committed terrible crimes, a way to begin to redeem themselves. This allow me to show tenderness and affection. Instead of taking from society, we can give back.”
Assistance Dogs Australia “top dog” Richard Lord said the program aimed to reduce re-offending behaviour and would give the men valuable work skills and training.
“Eventually the dog they trained will change the life of someone with a physical disability,” he said.