SOLDOTNA, Alaska — An Alaska jail has started a program that provides well-behaved inmates with companion dogs.

Inmates at Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, Alaska, now have the opportunity to take in a shelter dog if they meet certain criteria, KSRM-AM reported Wednesday.

Marianna Miranda, the jail’s assistant superintendent, said the program so far has encouraged inmates to be on their best behavior.

“You know I got right now over 400 prisoners, and all of them want a dog — not that we are going to go that big,” Miranda said.

To qualify, inmates have to have a year with no disciplinary issues, demonstrate they are working on a pro-social path and be employed, Miranda said.

The dogs are given to a primary handler and have two secondary handlers, she said. They sleep in their primary inmate’s cell.

The program is funded by a fraction of the money that inmates make running a snack shack in the jail.

The first batch of dogs is from an overflowing shelter in Dillingham.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.