Shelter cats transform prisoners’ lives in Indiana
Responsibility, compassion, and empathy. These are the three most valuable moral principles the care of shelter cats teaches convicted offenders.
Perhaps you have heard of dog therapy or canistherapy. But did you know that cats can serve as stress relievers too? Moreover, they can teach us many valuable virtues, such as trustworthiness and humanity.
In 2015, the Animal Protection League, in collaboration with the state of Indiana, launched an inspiring project at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, called F.O.R.W.A.R.D. Their idea is quite unusual, yet genius and tender.
They have been placing shelter cats in the correctional facility, where inmates are in charge of their care.
Not long after its start, the project proved to give amazing results in both the prisoners and the cats.
Sadly, many of the felines are coming from tragical backgrounds. However, the project helps them socialize and build their trust back in humans in a controlled environment. This ensures they also get the proper care they truly deserve until they find their forever homes.
The convicts do everything, from grooming to feeding and cleaning after the cats.
This way, they slowly but steadily help the animals return their trust in people. On the other hand, the care for these adorable cats teaches the prisoners how to be understanding, compassionate, and responsible.
The director of APL Maleah Stringer shares:
“I’ve had offenders tell me when they got an animal, it was the first time they can remember they were allowing themselves to care about something, to love something.”
Precious perching on Slim’s shoulder.
Teamed up with the organization Purrfect Pals, Monroe Correctional Complex-Special Offender Unit makes sure these animal programs are spreading all around the US prisons. On their website, the association explains:
“Our Prison Foster Program was developed as a way to provide quality kitten foster care while simultaneously motivating offenders to make positive life changes.
The MCKC Program has reduced offender idleness, taught offenders about responsibility and increased their self-esteem. Since the program’s inception, offenders have been motivated to enroll in school, obtain jobs, obey unit rules and improve their hygiene so that they may become MCKC participants.”