There are many studies on how animals help us heal. In fact, their therapeutic powers have been accepted and welcomed by people for a very long time.
They make amazing friends, help us with the feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, brighten our mood, and decrease our blood pressure.
Turns out that they’re now helping convicted offenders transform their lives!
The state of Indiana teamed up with the Animal Protection League to get this brilliant project named F.O.R.W.A.R.D. started at the Pendleton Correctional Facility in 2015.
According to that project, they placed shelter cats in the correctional facility and gave prisoners the responsibility of taking care of them. The results turned out to be truly amazing for both the cats and the inmates.
Many of these poor cats are coming from horrible backgrounds so the ability to socialize with humans in a controlled environment guarantees they also get the proper treatment and care they so desperately needed.
Many of these cats have a hard time trusting people so they had to spend a lifetime at the shelters since no one wanted to adopt them. The program also works as foster care for them, preparing them for their future homes by helping them get comfortable around humans.
The inmates feed, groom, and clean after the cats and try to earn their trust.
The prisoners also benefit from the program as they learn compassion by showing the cats love and treating them with care.
The director of APL, Maleah Stringer said, “I’ve had inmates tell me when they got a pet, it was the first time they ever let themselves love something.”
According to what APL stated on their website, “The program teaches the inmates responsibility, and how to act in a group and solve their issues using non-violent methods. Many of the inmates also get to experience unconditional love- something they’ve never had the chance to experience before.” It seems like this kind of programs are spreading across US prisons, and one of the recent examples is Monroe Correctional Complex-Special Offender Unit which teamed up with the organization called Purrfect Pals.