Meet The First Class of Service Dogs To Graduate From Inmate Training Program

The first group of service dogs has graduated from the At Both Ends of the Leash Program (ABEL), which works with inmates from Franklin Correctional Center to train therapy and medical alert dogs.

The program is run by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and began last year with seven inmate trainers and five dogs.

Now, the program has 18 trainers and 15 dogs. The inmates work with a North Carolina group, Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws (EENP) who place service dogs in the community.

With the graduation of these three dogs, the program has helped cut the wait time for an EENP service dog from three years to one year, according to WRAL.

ABEL allows the inmates at Franklin Correctional to give back to their community and help those in need of a service dog.

"Maybe my dog may help save a life," Jermaine Bennett, an inmate in the program, told WRAL.

One of the graduating dogs has already been placed with Amanda Weekley, who needs a service dog due to her diabetes and severe arthritis.

"I would say they’re giving me my life back," Weekley said.

Due to the program's initial success, the prison system is looking to start a similar program in Orange County, North Carolina.

See the inmates and their service dogs in-training in the video below:

Franklin Correctional isn't the first prison to find success from a service dog training program. Learn about the Puppies Behind Bars program here.

See a program in Canada that allows inmates to become dog groomers here.

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