The Department of Corrections (DOC) and Prison Pet Partnership (PPP) partnered forty-three years ago to address the gaps in programming and resources for incarcerated individuals housed at Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW). This collaborative effort to reduce the rate of recidivism has been documented as incredibly successful throughout the years.
Research indicates one quarter of women released recidivise within six months, one third recidivise within one year, and two thirds recidivise five years post-release. PPP’s current data shows less than 3% of program participants have recidivised within three years of release in comparison to Washington State’s rate of 22.2%.
Often overlooked in the experiences of incarcerated women is a lived history of trauma, gender-based violence victimization, adverse mental health conditions, and systemic oppression - often worsened while incarcerated. Research and common experience show that women leave incarceration with fewer resources, greater stress, financial strain, and face greater challenges securing employment and housing. PPP programming provides an opportunity for program participants to experience the positive mental health impacts of the human-animal bond while learning vocational skills to earn professional certification in the animal care field and receive re-entry services - providing greater opportunity to secure employment upon release.
Incarcerated individuals must meet the following minimum criteria to be considered for the program:
No crimes against animals, children, elderly or those with disabilities
Major infraction free for 1 year
Minor infraction free in the last 30 days
It is because of DOC and PPP’s partnership that current and formerly incarcerated individuals are successfully contributing to society. Animals are rescued from potential euthanasia and given specific training and ultimately a home. Persons with disabilities gain increased accessibility and independence with a trained service animal.
The power of the human-animal bond still goes unmeasured, but it remains clear that this type of programming has an immense impact on the people who participate. Our shared goal is to create safer and more resilient communities. Together, we will continue to transform lives.
PET CARE TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION
A twelve (12) month certification program encompassing in-class and hands-on learning to reach Level II Pet Care Technician focused on basic pet care practices, boarding, daycare, business operations, and customer service skills.
MASTER GROOMER CERTIFICATION
A twenty-four (24) month certification program encompassing in-class and hands-on learning to reach Level III Master Groomer focused on basic, advanced, and special grooming techniques, bathing, brushing, claw and ear care, business operations, and customer service skills.
DOG TRAINER CERTIFICATION
A forty-eight (48) month certification program encompassing in-class and hands-on learning to reach Level IV Dog Handler focused on basic and advanced obedience training for paroled pets, service dog training to serve persons with disabilities, therapy dog training for community service, business operations, and customer service skills.