In a prison in Indiana, inmates and cats are changing each other’s lives for the better.
The Pendelton Correctional Facility has a program which brings cats from shelters to live inside the prison. The inmates take turns taking care for the fluffy cuties.
In the prison, the cats are allowed to roam freely, socialize with the staff and inmates, play, walk around, sleep, etc.
Thanks to the program, these cats are no longer spending most of their time closed inside small cages and the inmates learn some vital values.
Cats Come to a Prison to Have more Freedom?
According to inmate Barry Matlock, it’s a bit ironic that cats come to a prison to be free; however, all of them agree that the cats have made a major improvement in their outlooks on life.
Lamar Hal, another inmate, told that he’s always looking forward to spending time with the cats. They reduce their stress and help them focus on good and positive things, instead of just sitting in a cell alone all the time.
Hal added that love will change characteristics from anyone’s difficult past and this goes for humans and animals.
Matlock said that the program gave him a reason to strive and do better than he did yesterday.
What Kind of Program Is This One?
The program’s official name is Felines and Offenders Rehabilitation with Affection, Reformation, and Dedication.
It’s been launched in 2015 and the funds come from donations.
The spokeswoman for the program, Michelle Rains, said that the cat duty is voluntary and each of the applicants is extensively interviewed to ensure they’re a good choice for the job.
The director of the Anderson Animal Protection League from where the cats come, Maleah Stringer, said she’s satisfied with the program’s impact on the inmates and cats.
She said that some of the offenders told her that when they got an animal, it was the first time they were allowing themselves to care and love something which is quite a powerful thing.
Even though the sanctuary isn’t publically open, the cats can be adopted by the staff of the prison or the families of the inmates.
The Power of Animals to Heal Us
Animals, particularly dogs and cats, have a healing power which we’ve been aware of for years.
They’re our companions when we deal with anxiety, depression or some other problems and help us better our mood and lower our blood pressure.
But, we also help animals- a lot of these cats have had terrible past and being allowed to socialize with humans in a controlled surrounding is also something they need to feel better.
The cats are here to heal and be loved until they find a forever home where they’ll feel safe.
The inmates on cat duty groom, feed, and clean after their furry friends. This teaches them about care, compassion, love, responsibility, and commitment to something.
This isn’t the only animal program in US prisons- the Monroe Correctional Complex Special Offender Unit teamed up with the Purrfect Pals organization and brought animals to the prison facility.
This has motivated the offenders to enrol in schools, find jobs, better their hygiene, and obey the rules of the unit.