Tarrengower Prison is celebrating the rehabilitation of its 500th foster greyhound, ‘Boston’. Boston is trained through a program giving four-legged companions and prisoners a new lease on life.
For more than a decade, prisoners at Tarrengower have worked closely with retired racing dogs, taking them through a training regime to prepare them for adoption into new homes.
The four-week program is part of the Prison Pet Partnership between Corrections Victoria and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and teaches selected prisoners valuable new skills to assist with their transition back into the community upon release.
The women take responsibility for feeding and exercising the dogs, as well as teaching them basic obedience skills. They train them to become familiar with stairs, noisy household appliances and being walked on a lead.
The Greyhound Adoption Program at Tarrengower Prison has been operating since 2009, two years after the program began at Dhurringile Prison, near Murchison, in 2007.
GRV provides food and veterinary care for the greyhounds and delivers weekly training for the prisoners, which was moved online due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Training and work programs play a vital role in providing prisoners with new skills to assist with their rehabilitation and help reduce their risk of reoffending, while also boosting self-esteem - giving them the best chance of being productive members of the community when they’re released.
Tarrengower Prison, located near Maldon, is a minimum-security facility for low-risk women prisoners who are nearing the end of their sentence and provides transition and reintegration support prior to release.