Prisoners to train Guide Dogs

Prisoners to train Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs WA trainers are teaching prisoners basic skills including obedience and socialisation as part of the program.

Minimum security prisoners at Boronia Pre-release Centre for Women in Bentley are raising puppies for Guide Dogs WA (GDWA).

The program will prepare puppies for training as guide or assistance dogs for people living with low or no vision, a disability or illness.

With instruction from trainers from GDWA, the prisoners will teach the puppies basic obedience and socialisation, while providing a loving home environment at Boronia.

Under the supervision of Boronia staff, the selected puppy raisers will also take the dogs into shops, restaurants and on public transport as part of the training.

Two specially bred Labrador pups, Pedro and Pablo, were eight weeks old when they were placed with the prisoners.

They’ll reside at Boronia for up to 16 months.

Corrective Services Minister Paul Papalia said the program would ultimately provide life-changing assistance to members of the community living with disability or illness.

The specially bred pups were eight weeks old when they were placed with the prisoners.

Corrective Services Commissioner Brad Royce said the program contributes to society in a meaningful way while teaching the prisoners skills to assist their rehabilitation.

“We are always looking for new ways for prisoners to engage and find opportunities for them to give back to the community and improve their chances of successful reintegration,” Commissioner Royce said.

One of the puppy raisers says she volunteered for the role because she wanted to make a positive difference.

“I want to do something which will help others. I’ve committed crimes but haven’t been able to make amends. So I’m grateful for this opportunity to help make life better for other people,” the prisoner said.

Guide Dogs WA will assess Pedro and Pablo every few months.

At the end of the training program, GDWA will determine if they are suitable to become Guide Dogs or Assistance Dogs such as Autism Assistance, Therapy, Ambassador or Breeding dogs.