Health Prison-to-pooch trial delivers pawsitive results

Prison-to-pooch trial delivers pawsitive results

Prisoners at risk of reoffending are getting a paw-up from man’s best friend. Dogs are being used to increase inmates’ emotional intelligence and reduce their risk of reoffending.

With recidivism rates at around 60 per cent, the University of Southern Queensland is trialling new ways to help those dogged by their past to learn new tricks.

And what better way to help offenders stay on the straight and narrow than putting a collar on Rover.

Dr Lauren Humby says offenders often have lower emotional intelligence than the general population.

However, humans process dog and human facial cues in a similar way, with a little puppy love giving offenders the chance to increase their skills.

“Learning to read the behavioural cues of dogs could help inmates better recognise and process emotions in people, and ultimately reduce their risk of reoffending in the future,” she said.

Preliminary findings of the research suggest that it helps prisoners identify and respond more appropriately to emotional prompts.

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