Why We Train in Prisons


Training Service Dogs in prisons gives inmates consistent responsibility for the care and training of a dog with the ultimate purpose of help a child or Veteran with a disability.

Depending on the length of their sentence, inmates may be part of the Service Dogs Alabama training team for a year to over a decade. During this time, the inmate changes their habits, their routines, and the way that they think. Although psychologists have estimated that it takes three months of consistent and conscious behavior to change a habit, we estimate that time to be longer.

In a prison, time can stand still for the incarcerated inmate. They can stay stuck in the moment that they were incarcerated. However, the Service Dog Training program stops the prisoner’s stagnation (and time warp) and initiates the formation of new habits.

Training a Service Dog in prison over a period of time translates into these life skills: SDA

  • Better parenting
  • Increased self-control
  • Anger and emotion management
  • Communication Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Compassion
  • Purpose

Recidivism Rates are reported at 0%. While this percentage is only calculated from state arrests, not national arrests, even if the number is slightly higher, it is still impressive.

The cost of arrest, jail, court costs, attorney fees, conviction, and imprisonment for a felony conviction can easily cost $500,000.00 of taxpayer money. The sayings to taxpayers are substantial, totaling in the millions of dollars.

But to Service Dogs Alabama, we saved somebody’s mother, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister, somebody’s friend, and somebody’s mentor. That is why we are so proud of our work.

Today, we have 48 inmates who are dedicated to training dogs for Service Dogs Alabama. We are working to re-habilitate them through the consistency and efficacy of our program.

We believe everybody has a purpose. We are working to allow people to find their own strength.