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Carly

Carly McDermott

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Victoria Animals > General
Legal > Penal And Parole
To explore animal therapeutics in the rehabilitation of youth in the juvenile justice system - Germany, UK, USA
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Learnings and conclusions:

A summary of my key findings and recommendations are listed below and discussed in further detail throughout the report.

  • Although it is a simple concept, animal assisted prison programs must be thoughtfully and carefully implemented 
  • Prison animal programs have the capacity to reduce recidivism and equip offenders with social, life and employability skills 
  • The human-animal bond and connection increases empathy within the individual 
  • Offenders who participate in prison based animal programs demonstrate greater pro-social behaviours and are less likely to be involved in physical incidents with other inmates 
  • Offenders who participate in prison based animal programs feel a sense of achievement and self-worth
  • Participating offenders develop a greater belief in their person and self-efficacy and their ability to succeed as a positive member of the community 

Recommendations:

  • A multi-disciplinary team be created when implementing a prison-based animal program 
  • Offenders are highly screened and assessed before being permitted to participate in any program with animals to ensure the welfare of the animal 
  • To ensure a high level of planning when employing an animal-based prison program to ensure longevity and success 
  • To have a ‘giving back’ element to the program which connects offenders with the community 
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