EDMONTON —Canada is taking an important step in the rehabilitation of the inmates of The Edmonton Institution for Women by developing a program that aims to turn some of the inmates into fully licensed dog groomers.
This is one of five regional facilities across Canada and it is currently the home of 167 inmates of maximum and minimum security levels. In collaboration with the Alberta School of Dog Grooming –who designed the program, they are offering a course in pet styling and dog grooming from which the inmates will emerge with a formal certification as pet groomers and a membership with the Canadian Professional Pet Stylists association.
READ MORE: PROGRAM FOLLOWS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ABUSED STRAY DOGS AND PRISON INMATES WORKING TOWARDS A SECOND CHANCE
The course lasts from 12 to 16 weeks and it includes 480 hours of hands-on training. The first course is expected to be finished by March 2017 and three more courses are planned from 2017 to 2020.
The goal is to increase job skills and give these women employment opportunities in the future. According to Lyn Cardus, who owns the school that designed the program,
“There are so few opportunities for women in these institutions… These women get stuck into a cycle of behavior. To offer them an opportunity to break that cycle, to become independent, and be able to earn a living once they leave the institution is very important to me”
She says the training will empower them while they are in prison and will make them employable after they are released. Plus, let’s not forget the healing power animals have. They can make a huge difference in their rehabilitation process.
Of course, there are security concerns because they will be working with sharp objects but to address this potential problem, the institution is planning to heavily screen and assess the candidates. They will carry on interviews and make a careful selection of the women that are fit to enter the program.
In addition to that, finding enough dogs for the program is also a challenge. Each student will need to groom between 100 and 150 dogs in order to get the certification. It is estimated that around 500 dogs will be groomed in that period.
To achieve that, they will offer free grooming services to any rescue, shelter or organization that is willing to provide dogs for the program. The prison’s sniffer and patrol dogs are included, as well as the staff’s own dogs.
If safety is assured not only for the inmates but for the dogs as well, this program has a lot of benefits for these women and for the community. Programs that give inmates job opportunities can re-insert them into the free world, but programs that include animals can restore something deeper in them. Animal are that great.
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