PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Pace University’s Department of Criminal Justice has partnered with the Good Dog Foundation, along with the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) and Federal Bureau of Prisons, in an effort to tackle the problems facing female inmates.
The partnership stems from the fact that nearly two million people are incarcerated annually, and upon release, two-thirds will return to prison within three years. The three-year pilot program will be led by Pace University’s Dr. Kimberly Collica-Cox, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Security, and an expert in prisoner rehabilitation. Participants plan to examine the hardships faced by female prisoners, seventy percent of whom have a minor child at home.
Studies have shown these female prisoners suffer from higher rates of depression, self-destructive behavior, and other mental illnesses more than any other prisoners. As a result, many of their children suffer from depression, social exclusion, anxiety, substance use, early criminality, antisocial behavior and physical ailments.
In response to this growing problem, Pace and Good Dog plan to develop a first of its kind program combining a prisoner-parenting curriculum with specially trained therapy dogs and human handlers. The professional therapy dog teams will assist inmates in exploring emotional trauma, facilitate communication and trust between prisoners and parenting teachers and create a framework for improved relationships between inmates and their children. Through this program, Pace and Good Dog hope to provide female inmates the skills to be better parents once released from prison, and ultimately seize their second chance.
To learn more about the Good Dog Foundation, click here.