Management & Training Corporation (which runs the Arizona State Prison) now has a special arrangement with the Mutt Matchers animal shelter. In this arrangement, certain inmates in the Arizona State Prison (who have proven to be non-violent inmates and have undergone thorough screening procedures) are allowed to participate in the Mutt Matchers Pound 2 Pen Partnership program.
The function of the inmates in the interim of the eight-week program is to act as dog trainers of mutts from the animal shelter. These inmates are responsible for training the dogs under their care in basic manners and obedience protocols. Certain dogs who have the qualities of patience, devotion to their owners, and a positive demeanor, are also selected to be trained further for special functions like being seeing eye dogs for blind people.
One inmate who is legally blind was even given his own seeing eye dog from this same program to act as his guide. The inmate is part of the Mutt Matchers Pound 2 Pen Partnership program while his dog was a graduate of the sixth batch of dogs to be successfully trained under this unique program. It seemed fitting that a volunteer inmate for the program would be given his own seeing eye dog and thus benefit more from the program.
The dog given to this inmate also had the ability to learn commands easily which made her ideal for the role of a seeing eye dog. This way, both dogs from the shelter and prison inmates gain from participation in the program.