CHICAGO (CBS) – A puppy comes to pick me up in an unlikely place. In Kane County Prison, the bet is that canine kisses will help drop the number of fights behind bars.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory went behind the scenes of two new dog-based programs offered in prison.
Inside cell block D, an unknown noise: joy in prison.
“We don’t smile, laugh or have a lot of fun here,” said inmate Amber Moberly.
Occasionally, the new Kane County, KC therapy dog visits the detainees; trained to love whoever is in the block.
“The females unite us even more; on a positive note, and not on a negative note, “said inmate Lisha Lewandowski.
Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain proudly touted the collapse of violent rates in prison through other programs.
“We have quit prisoner struggles by 40%,” he said. “We have dropped our attacks held against officers by nearly 95%.”
Hain said he hopes the prison therapy dog program will continue the trend, but said it will take a while before he can back it up with tough numbers.
“I like to use a year as a good standard,” he said.
The sheriff’s $ 6,000 experiment isn’t unheard of.
Parenting, Prison & Pups is a multi-year study on the effect of dogs on incarcerated women; 70% of whom are mothers of children under the age of 18.
The hypothesis is that the parenting skills taught behind bars are best preserved if animals come to class. New York-based researchers have told CBS 2 that depression has initially decreased and self-esteem has increased.
“I look at animals as if they were my children too,” said detainee Jasmine Gabler.
MEPs from Kane County Prison say Gabler, mother of two, is doing better thanks to the program.
He recently started the second new prison dog-based business: obedience training. At this time, the $ 1,000 program is only offered to women in prison.
“The vast majority of women in custody – and this applies to women in custody across the nation – have suffered some sort of trauma,” said Hain.
Gabler said he felt his family’s bankruptcy.
“Now I feel like I can go out and I can really do things in life; I am 27 years old and I want better things for my children. I don’t want them taken away like when I was a kid, “he said.
Speaking of children, the 7 and a half month KC just got out of training. He still practices his skills, but women in prison don’t care.
“He’s more loving and you don’t really understand him here,” said Moberly.
Aurora Animal Control transports adoptable dogs to and from Kane County Prison for obedience training courses. Both dog programs are funded through the prison commissioner’s income.