Pen Pals Prison Program

The Pen Pals prison program teaches inmates at CoreCivic-Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville, Oklahoma to train shelter dogs into well-mannered companion dogs who are then adopted by people in the community. Research shows that the inmates benefit as much as the dogs and their new owners. The inmates become more patient and tolerant, learn a skill and the value of community service. Their increased confidence, empathy, and ability to share emotions with the dogs open new ways of thinking and relating to others, making a significant difference in their lives and the lives of the families, staff, and other inmates.

A New Leash on Life trainers go to the correctional facility every week to conduct dog training classes for inmates and their dogs. Each dog lives in the cell with two inmates who share training responsibilities for the 10-week program. Inmates are responsible for house training, obedience training, and correcting any behavioral problems like barking or jumping. While they might have otherwise been euthanized, the dogs become well mannered and more adoptable.

A New Leash on Life pays for all the expenses of the program, including food, veterinary care, professional trainers, training treats and supplies.

Every ten weeks during graduation, the inmate handlers, sometimes tearfully, hand the leash of their dog over to its new owner. Then, they take the leash of another dog from the shelter to begin again.

For more information regarding the Pen Pals prison program, contact us at




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