Prison Puppies Achieving Worthy Service (PPAWS) is a program in which inmates work with dogs waiting for adoption.
At the Tennessee Prison for Women, dogs are brought to the prison for a six-week stay where they are trained by inmates under the direction of the Animal Behavior Program Manager at the Nashville Humane Association.
A team of two inmates care for and teach a dog basic manners, including loose leash walking, sit, down, stay, and wait at the door. These dogs are also house trained and crate trained, while being socialized with other inmates, officers, and staff at the prison. Upon graduation from the program, dogs return to the Humane Association to find a home. This program teaches the inmate skills which can be used upon their release.
Mark Luttrell Correctional Center receives dogs from the SPCA of Collierville.
The dogs are trained under the direction of a volunteer trainer. They receive obedience training, such as sit, stay, down, heel, loose leash walking, proper greetings, pay attention, and house/crate training. They also are trained to do special tricks such as play dead, shake, high five, right/left paw, sit pretty, rollover, spin, fetch, catch it, and leave it. There is not a time limit for the training of these dogs.
For training to be considered successful, the dogs must pass the AKC's Canine Good Citizenship Test. Upon graduation of the program, the dogs are returned to the Collierville Animal Shelter to be adopted. All of the dogs trained at MLCC have been adopted, except one.
PPAWS benefits by:
Allowing inmates to contribute to society
Helping inmates obtain the skills needed to land a job upon their release
Teaching inmates basic life skills such as patience, responsibility, social interaction and acceptance
Providing therapeutic benefits to inmates at virtually no cost
Giving inmates an incentive to stay out of trouble
The dogs seem to have a calming effect on the inmate population