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For Immediate Release

October 6, 2005

Contact: Jeff Lyons
Public Information Officer
Phone: 603-271-5602

NH DEPT OF CORRECTIONS INMATES TO TRAIN SERVICE DOGS

(Concord, NH) The New Hampshire Department of Corrections announced that it has joined with the community-based Pathways to Hope organization to implement a service dog training program at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord. Twenty male offenders will be identified to train the dogs to assist the hearing impaired, people with balance problems, and people who suffer from seizures.

“We are partnering with a community based organization to offer an important service to those in need while providing a marketable skill for our offender population,” Commissioner Stephen J. Curry said.

Pathways to Hope will provide the dogs, training support, veterinarian support, and all of the supplies including food and toys at no cost to New Hampshire taxpayers.  The inmates will train clean, groom, and take of the dogs. Each dog will remain in the institution from between six months to a year. The dogs will remain with their trainers and sleep in their cells.

“The offenders will volunteer for the program and be fully screened prior to participation. They must stay discipline free, continue in their treatment or work assignments, and follow the rules of the institution to remain in the program,” Commissioner Curry added.

The service dog training program is an outgrowth of the kitten socialization program, which has been successfully operating at the New Hampshire State Prison for Women since June 2005. Both involve NH-DOC and community partnerships to improve offender rehabilitation and provide a service to the community.

Similar canine programs function successfully in Correctional agencies in Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Oregon, Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

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