The dog program at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women (KCIW) is a partnership with Paws with Purpose (PWP). Founded in 2003, Paws with Purpose is a non-profit organization that provides assistance dogs as partners to children and adults with physical disabilities or other special needs.
The Puppy Prison Program began at KCIW in 2004. Currently inmates participate in the program, providing care and training for the dogs on weekdays. Community volunteers pick up the dogs each weekend to provide supplemental training and expose the dogs to cars, shopping, restaurants, movies, the grocery store, and many other important situations that a working service dog would encounter out in public.
There are currently 20 dogs receiving training at KCIW. Since the inception of the program KCIW, 21 dogs have been placed with clients with a disability. Another seven dogs have been placed with professionals in health care facilities to work on a daily basis with children and adults who are hospitalized or receiving outpatient therapy or other treatments. These dogs participate with the professionals to help motivate patients and make the health care setting les stressful. There have also been seven dogs from the program who visit hospitals and schools on a periodic basis with PWP volunteers to boost morale and encourage children who struggle with reading skills. There have been four dogs who were "career changed" and became search or scent detection dogs.