Pups in Prison Program: Rehabilitation with man’s best friend

Independent Social Impact Assessment finds Pups in Prison program significantly improves prisoner wellbeing

Serco’s rehabilitation programs are underpinned by a restorative justice framework that provides opportunities for prisoners to give back to the community.

Through a unique partnership with Assistance Dogs Australia (ADA), Serco delivers the Pups in Prison program, which sees prisoners train puppies to help those with special needs. Prisoners are assigned a dog, and training takes approximately eight months of 24 hours a day, seven days a week care. 

The program has been running for more than ten years, with over 40 pups trained by prisoners at SQCC and provided to people in the community who need their vital support. 

An independent social impact assessment conducted by research firm Huber Social in 2020 found prisoners who participated in Serco’s Pups in Prison program have greater rehabilitation and wellbeing outcomes. 

Results

Prisoner puppy trainers experienced a range of positive outcomes as a result of the program, including a 94% increase in overall wellbeing, a 32% improvement in confidence and self-esteem, and a 25% improvement in mental wellness.

The research also shows that recipients of the dogs trained at SQCC experienced a 148% improvement in relationship skills and a 224% improvement in mental health.

In addition to prisoner wellbeing and rehabilitation outcomes, the Pups in Prison program provides life-changing assistance to members of the community and enables participants to make a positive contribution to society.