KCIW Puppy Prison Program

One of the only programs of its type in the region, the Puppy Prison Program is housed at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women (KCIW). The women from the prison who apply to participate in the program must go through a lengthy approval process to become a PwP handler. The women receive training from PwP volunteers who visit during the week. It is the responsibility of the women, once comfortable with the training and care-taking skills of the puppies and young dogs, to hold their own group training classes, and to fully care for the animals; these dogs stay at the prison throughout the week and will work one-on-one with the women.

On Fridays, the puppies leave the prison for the weekend with their volunteer weekend trainers as a supplement to what they learn during the week. This change of environment allows the puppies exposure to cars, shopping, restaurants, movies, the grocery store, and many other important situations that a working assistance dog would encounter out in public. It allows the puppy to practice their newly learned skills with lots of distractions since a fully trained assistance dog needs to be able to perform trained skills in all environments.

The Puppy Prison Program gives the inmates the chance to learn job skills, such as training and grooming. The program also provides personal growth such as patience, communication and writing skills as well as the ability to work well with a team. Combined, all of these will assist them with reintegration back into the community. It also provides them the opportunity to give back to society.