ESTABLISHING TRUST: Resident dog Chika with her guardian at the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.
ESTABLISHING TRUST: Resident dog Chika with her guardian at the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre. Claudia Baxter

Man’s best friend is the cure

WACOL prisoners have been given a new lease on life with the help of some hairy four-legged friends.

The Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre inmates have taken surrendered animals into their care as part of a new rehabilitation program.

The program, run in partnership with RSPCA Queensland, places dogs with prisoners undergoing drug rehabilitation, for six to eight weeks at a time.

Prison services manager Sue Noordink said the two-month-old program was proving a success.

"It's been absolutely amazing because the inmates don't see kindness as a weakness anymore," she said.

Ms Noordink said nine prisoners were selected to be primary handlers.

They completed an animal training course and obtained certificates in first aid and occupational health and safety.

Prisoners said the animals had been welcomed to the family.

"We've also become very protective of the dogs and they take priority over inmates now.

"If someone has a problem with the dogs, he has to leave," said one of the prisoners.

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