We knew the existence of programs of therapy and animal-assisted education in prisons of Spain and the United States, countries where governements have worked for years in rehabilitation programs to integrate prison population in sociaty, teaching inmates to train service dogs, a way to facilitate people their social integration. Using dogs as therapy for problems of other inmates is also known.
The way to work consists of building teams, whose members will be 1 to 2 dogs (usually the labrador kind), a group of inmates (on psychosocial assessment and each with their individual work plan) and an intervention team, formed by an officer, a psychologist, an educator and responsible in prison for that area. The welfare of animals within the prison is also taken into account. After basic training in animal management, internal will be responsible for their care, which includes feeding, hygiene and make the dog walks, all within correctional facilities. Regularly the results of this program are evaluated.
Working with animals stimulates the emotional development of people, improves self-esteem and confidence, sense of responsibility and competence and reduces domestic violence. Proven the effectiveness of these therapies with animals for cases of self-esteem, self-concept, communication and values development.
The positive thing about animals is that there´s no judge or recall of past events which led to the arrival of the inmates at the prison. Therefore, animals adapt to working with women prisoners, inmates in isolation, inmates in the last period of sentencing, youth, disabled inmates and inmates with mental illness.
It seems more difficult to replace dogs by bees in the reintegration of people, but there are very interesting experiences. The state of Florida (USA) is one of the pioneers, setting up the first academy of beekeeping in prison in 2011. During 6 weeks, 19 inmates received a crash course in beekeeping by industry professionals. At the end of this period they were examined, with very good results. The possibility of working as beekeepers were opened for them, since the bigger Florida beekeeper with 15,000 hives offered them a job.
More cases with bees. County Correctional Complex in Del Vall Travis, Texas (USA). 2014, supported by the Association of protection of the bee, several inmates, after a course of 120 hours, were certified in order to work as beekeepers.
Stafford Creek Correctional Center in Aberdeen, Washington (USA). Year 2009. 4 hives were placed inside the prison, 3 of them in the garden center, and another that served as observation hive, inside a greenhouse. An entomologist or insect expert met weekly for two months with 10 prisoners, and after each class they checked together the hives. Inmates emphasized the social interdependence of the hive, one more example to combat isolation in jail or in society and offered to cooperate in the investigation of depopulation of hives
And we could not finish this article without an example where prisoners extracted and packed their own honey. Maryland Correctional Center (USA), where a 32 years intern worked as a beekeeper, along with two prison civil servants, began to pack the extracted honey. Honey will Catada by tasted by center staff and if the thing goes well, next years will be donated to food banks.
Surely there will be more cases worldwide. What haunts us through your head is whether honey in prison have some peculiarity that becomes special. Time to time to know.
For more information:
– Affinity Foundation – Communication Dep.