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November 22, 2015

Stray kittens strut their stuff in prison

DownloadI am not sure that catblogging is really an internet thing anymore, but I am sure that this local article from Washington state headlined "This Humane Society is sending stray cats to prison," is blog-worthy as a feel-good story about a local prison program.  Here are excerpts:

The Kitsap Humane Society has a new approach for stray cats: send them to prison. Inmates at the Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women, near Belfair in Mason County, are rehabilitating 10 stray cats until they are ready to be adopted by the public.

The women raising the cats say they offenders benefit as well. "It's a win-win for everybody involved," said Cydney Berthel, who is locked up on a theft conviction. "We're rehabilitating the lives of these little kittens and rehabilitating our lives too," said Berthel. She said working with the cats has been therapeutic.

It's taught the offenders how to nurture a living thing, something they didn't always do in their past lives. "We definitely made mistakes," said Shauna Teagle, "I feel this is my little bit of payback I can do." Teagle, who was sentenced to three years in prison for dealing drugs, said caring for the cats will help her be a better mother when she's released.

To participate in what the inmates call the "Pawsitive Prison Program," offenders must be infraction-free for the past six months.

Though some may view this post a fluff piece, I have heard enough anecdotes about "pets for prisoners" to wonder seriously if any systematic research has been done on recidivism rates after particitation in one of these kinds of programs.  At the very least, I hope there is no reason to fear that prisoners involved in these positive programs do not later get caught up in kitty porn.

(Sorry folks, like cats drawn to catnip, I could not resist my favorite bad cat-crime pun.)

November 22, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Permalink


Animals can be helpful for various people including to provide them with a purpose, a living thing to bond with and overall make their life more enjoyable and so on.

This is true for various troubled groups and should apply in this context too. The idea of a prisoner even bonding with a rat (or bird -- Shawshank Redemption ... the true story of the Birdman of Alcatraz is a bit less ideal than the film, but the fits up to a point too) comes to mind. It also seems a possibility for at risk teens and so forth.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 22, 2015 1:06:10 PM

Without any specific studies about cats, but based on prior experience with various rehab approaches, scared straight, boot camp, writing courses, group therapy, vocational training to push a broom at $9 an hour (for a non-violent drug dealer who made $2 million a year), the benefit will last about 3 weeks after discharge.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 22, 2015 2:35:28 PM

I want to be fair. Take a miracle cure, insulin for diabetes, and stop it. The diabetes, a chronic condition, returns. So it is unfair to hold rehabilitation services to a higher standard than a miracle treatment. Insulin effect do not last three weeks after stopping it.

The criticism of no long lasting effect is a suggestion to keep providing the rehabilitation services.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 22, 2015 3:16:58 PM

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