Oklahoma inmates using their time to change animals’ lives
VINITA, Okla. – While serving time in some of the state’s prisons, many inmates are using their time to save lives.
“You never know where they come from. What they’ve been through. You really have to establish a trust. You have to show them you won’t hurt them or allow them to get hurt,” said Timothy Ford.
Inmates at Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center in Vinita are spending their days with creatures who have been forgotten by society.
Through a program called ‘Bark Busters,’ the inmates teach and nurture dogs through weeks of specialized training. In the program, they learn basic commands so they can become productive members of a future family.
“It’s not about us. It’s about the dogs and who they’re going to. Their forever home,” said Earnest Gauss.
In some instances, some of the dogs can become specially trained for individuals with special needs.
“Bark Busters” is taking care of people and unwanted animals. But it’s also an opportunity for these inmates to learn compassion, dedication, and discipline. According to Warden Hamilton, “Idle hands [are] the devil’s playground. Anything we can do to keep these guys busy and productive. It’s a help to us. Everybody wins.”