Prison Animal Programs through a Criminological Lens


Mary Taintor

Date of Award


Degree Type

Archival Copy

First Advisor

Daisy Ball


The bond between humankind and animals has progressed throughout the years; in some cases, human-animal relationships go beyond friendship and enter into the utilitarian realm. The phenomenon of animals rehabilitating humans, and vice versa, can be found in prison environments in the form of prison animal programs (PAPs). The current research project is a criminological and sociological investigation of topics associated with PAPs, including the human-animal bond; animal therapy; prison rehabilitation and educational programs; public health and the criminal justice system; recidivism-reduction; mental health; and, sociology of the family. Methods employed include a comprehensive review of the literature, and in-depth interviews with two people involved with a PAP in Massachusetts. In exploring the somewhat unique phenomenon of PAPs, knowledge will be gained concerning the impacts of such programs on both the individual, and society. In the current climate of prison reform, conversations surrounding the effectiveness of various rehabilitation programs, including PAPs, are especially relevant.

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