U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Prison-Based Animal Programs: A National Survey

NCJ Number
The Prison Journal Volume: 86 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2006 Pages: 407-430
Gennifer Furst
Date Published
December 2006
24 pages
This study explored the extent to which prison-based animal programs (PAPs) are administered in U.S. prisons.
Survey results revealed that most States have PAPs and that most utilize a community service design that uses dogs. Participants are largely men and most programs were implemented after 2000. Survey respondents overwhelmingly had positive perceptions of the PAPs. The most commonly identified problem was reluctance on the part of prison staff to implement the PAPs. Despite the prevalence of PAPs in U.S. prisons, much of what is known about them is based on anecdotal evidence. There is a vital need for empirical investigation that includes long-term follow-up with participants. It is also important to consider how PAPs fit within society’s conception of justice. To assess the current nature of PAPs in the United States, researchers mailed a survey to the top administrator of all 50 States’ Department of Corrections. Surveys were completed and returned by 46 States; 4 States did not respond: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas. The survey focused on program design and characteristics, such as number of participants, eligibility criteria, type of animals, amount of resources expenditure, and the nature of participant-animal interactions. Data were analyzed using both descriptive statistics and qualitative data analysis techniques. Future research could focus on how prison farms or livestock care programs are different from other types of PAPs. Tables, appendix, notes, references