It is well known that our criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform. Mental illness, drug dependency, and lack of attachment, are some of the areas that need to be addressed in the coming years. By focusing on a path to rehabilitation rather than incarceration, it will be possible to restore people’s trust in the system, and with this, ex-offenders will be successful in their reintegration to society efforts.
A new initiative was recently adopted by some prisons in the U.S. that pairs inmates with abandoned dogs over the course of two months to be trained by inmates prior to adoption. This program gives dogs a second chance to have a home, but most importantly, it presents an opportunity for inmates to experience patience, loyalty, affection, and that special bond that many of them have not had for years.
This experience has a profound effect on the way inmates perceive themselves and their surroundings, and although no actual research has been conducted to assess the psychological benefits attributed to this program, it is believed to have changed inmates at an emotional level by inspiring them to change.
This story reminds us that people learn, adapt, and change as a consequence of their environment and if their environment improves so does the way the perceive themselves.
There are many changes that must take place before our criminal justice system us fully reformed, measures like these are a step in the right direction.
Do you think this initiative will be successful?