Indiana Prison Takes In Shelter Cats And They Change Prisoners’ Hearts

Pets have always been more than just our companions. But do you know having a pet by your side can heal you of your pain? There have been many researches over the years on the therapeutic power of cats and dogs on humans. They help in reducing depression and anxiety, loneliness, elevate and even decrease blood pressure. But this body in Indiana went one step ahead and targeted on the uplifting of human society by helping the outcasts –

1. In 2015, Animal Protection League, In Indiana Started A Program In Pendleton Correctional Facility


In 2015 in the state of Indiana, Animal Protection League started a wonderful program in Pendleton Correctional Facility called F.O.R.W.A.R.D. Their sole objective was to start a benevolent program which could go beyond the social taboos and help create an ecosystem of love. It was to involve two discards of the society – prisoners and abused animals.

2. It Started Out As A Mutually Beneficial Program


As mentioned earlier, F.O.R.W.A.R.D was started with the hope of benefiting two parties, the prisoners and cats. The idea behind its commencement was to take cats from a shelter and bring them to a correctional facility in Indiana, where the inmates and the felines would interact with each other.

3. These Cats Have A Long History Of Abuse And Mistreatment


These cats were either strays or were at homes where they were undernourished and badly treated. Most of them were grievously injured when they were brought to the shelter. The physical scars on the cats had disappeared, but due to the mental trauma inflicted by the humans, they were still afraid of coming in close contact with humans.

4. These Cats Had Problems In Socializing With Humans


These cats would cower away when they spotted a human and would not even come out on repeated requests. To get them out of their shell, and help them get the love that they needed, an unconventional step was required. But most of the shelters already had their hands full, so this seemed as they only way out for the Indiana-based shelter.

5. These Felines Have A Lower Chance Of Being Adopted


Despite of their overwhelming cuteness, these pets were rarely adopted. That was because they rarely liked coming in human contact and hence were not assigned to any foster homes. The inmates in the prison were equally lonely and were cut off from the society. Getting these pets out of the shelter and into the prison with humans seemed to be a good match.

6. Inmates Also Get A Chance To Care For Somebody


Most of us are aware of the harshness and hostilities of prison life. It is extremely difficult to overcome resistance in such enclosures. Tender love and care is so rarely seen here. That turns ordinary offenders into hard-core criminals. But with these cats around them, they learn to care for somebody and take responsibility.

7. These Inmates Have Never Looked Beyond Violence


What you get is what you give back. These inmates have always gone through a lot of exploitation and violence. Moreover, most of them a re first time offenders. Some of them have been charged with petty thefts and robberies. It is good to give them a reason for nipping the evil inside them right when it is in its bud.

8. There Are Similar Programs Being Conducted In Other Prisons As Well


Not only Indiana, Arkansas, Maine and Chicago have started out some incredible pet programs across their correctional facilities. Apart from these states, there have also been some dependent territories like Puerto Rico and American Samoa where such programs have been successfully instilled in the penitentiary.

9. The Special Offenders Pet Care Plan Has Proved Extremely Successful


After bringing in pets in correctional facilities, there has been a significant drop in the hostile and depressive behavior of the inmates. Not only that, but the animals have also come out of their shell and interacted freely with the inmates. Those who have been released post the pet-induction program, have been more positive and have taken up normal jobs in the regular society.

10. The Presence Of These Animals Have Brought A New Calmness In Inmates


Having a pet by your side has its given pros. One they help in reducing stress by releasing endorphins in your body. Secondly, having a companion by your side is beneficial for your overall cardio-vascular health. Loneliness can be a big killer, and suicides are at an all-time high in the USA. These animals provide a sense of assurance to a person, giving them a sort of mental and social security.

11. The Program Has Reduced A Lot Of Offender Traits


Not only has this program resulting in reducing offender idleness, it has also taught offenders about responsibility and has also increased their self-esteem. This helps the prisoners to feel more confident about themselves. That way they feel more accepted in the regular crowd, and why not? They are not any different from others. All they deserve is a second chance at life. 

12. The Therapeutic Effects Are Undeniable


These inmates in the picture are knitting beanies and socks for their pets. Having responsibility on their heads and owning it, indicates a big change in their previous behaviors. With this shift in attitude, they rekindle the kindness they have lost overtime due to their personal hardships. The bonding with the animals is certainly beneficial for their mental health.

13. There Was Also A Backlash From A Certain Part Of The Society


However, there were some sections, especially some animal care groups, who were extremely skeptical and were also concerned about the safety of animals. They were completely against inducting prisoners who had committed heinous crimes. But slowly, with the matter in legal resolution , they withdrew their stand.

14. The Pros Of The Program Outweighed The Cons


Similar animal programs have been established in Monroe Correctional Complex-Special Offender Unit by an organization called Purrfect Pals. According to this organization, there were not many cons in programs like these. So, there’s virtually nothing that could hold back such programs in legal boundaries.

15. You Will Get Love If You Share Love


Sharing love is a virtuous deed. If you will love any creature, love is what you will get in return. How you behave is entirely upon you. You can either choose to be good or be bad. Your life’s outcome depends on whichever path you undertake. But if you have your morals in the right place, nobody can deny you a quality life.

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