Pets have always been not only our companions but often even healers. The therapeutic power of cats and dogs have been known for years. These furry companions help us to reduce depression and anxiety, feel less lonely, elevate our mood and even decrease blood pressure. However, one other aspect of pets’ ability to transform lives often gets overlooked – it’s their capability of helping convicted offenders.
In 2015 in the state of Indiana, Animal Protection League started a wonderful program in Pendleton Correctional Facility called F.O.R.W.A.R.D.
The idea behind this initiative is to take cats from a shelter and place them in the correctional facility so inmates could take care of them. The program quickly proved to be beneficial for both cats and inmates.
Many cats who end up at the shelter, often have a long history of abuse and mistreatment, thus leaving them unable to properly socialize with humans.
These felines lack trust in people and have a lower chance of being adopted. What they need is patient and loving care before they can find a forever home and this program provides it to them.
While the cats are being taken care of by prisoners who feed them, clean after them and groom them, the animals become more social and trusting towards humans.