Ahandful of inmates at Louisiana’s Dixon Correctional Institute are tasked with doing something uncommon for a prison: taking care of animals.
Pen Pals, an animal shelter that sits within prison grounds, is run with the help of this selected group of inmates. (None of the ones chosen are in prison for sexual abuse or animal cruelty.)
The Humane Society of the United States funded the prison shelter with the purpose of it being a safe haven for animals in need. It was started following the damage of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, when rescuers were burdened with the amount of stray pets they were left with.
The inmates take care of the dogs every day, similarly to the inmates in a Florida prison who look after rescued zoo animals, and the responsibility is bringing positive changes to these inmates.
“Some of these guys used to be real hardheads,” says Colonel John Smith in the Humane Society of the United States video below. “I’ve kind of seen them grow. I’ve seen them loosen up a little bit. They’re not as hard. They are a little more friendly.”
The success is also understood through one inmate named Ron Johnson, who formed a bond with one black-and-white pooch — his “favorite.” He says he looks forward to the day the dogs are adopted.
“I’m starting to do the right thing,” he says. “I watch them come and I watch them go. I love to see when the dog walk out of that gate, hit that parking lot and get in that car. I know it’s all right.”
Watch below and please SHARE if you think more prisons need a shelter like this one!