Over two dozen jail-dog programs exist in the USA. What’s a jail-dog program? A prison inmate gets a dog to take care of and train, so it can be adopted. Then what happens? According to the US Department of Justice, the scheme helps reduce the recidivism rate of convicts “considerably”. In one penal institution in the state of Georgia, of 35 inmates who went through the program, only 4 returned. The average number of recidivists is 17.
The prisoners become attached to the dogs. They understand the animals are counting on them to take care of them. The authorities who oversee the jail-dog scheme report that the dogs teach the prisoners responsibility, patience and caring, and that the inmates are less depressed, more hopeful. They seem to have a purpose.
Apparently, if you have something to care about besides yourself, you are less ikely to commit a crime.