THE SMART PRISON INITIATIVE PAIRING INMATES WITH RESCUE DOGS

WIRED | 8/16/2019 | Michael Hardy
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Click For Photo: https://media.wired.com/photos/5d545fb65e298d000802a9d0/191:100/pass/photo_rescue_15.jpg

In 2016, the California City Correctional Facility launched a pilot program that paired inmates, many of them convicted of violent offenses, with rescue dogs. Under the supervision of volunteers from Marley's Mutts, a California dog rescue group, the inmates worked together to train the dogs so that, at the end of the two- to three-month program, they could be adopted by forever homes. Known as Pawsitive Change, the idea proved wildly successful and has since expanded to other prisons around California.

"The inmates want so badly to get into the program," says LA-based photographer Shayan Asgharnia, who spent several months documenting the training sessions in 2017. "It gives them a sense of purpose." Asgharnia, best known for his psychologically acute celebrity portraits, maintains a sideline in photographing rescue dogs, which is how he first heard about Pawsitive Change. After receiving permission to shoot inside the prison, he began driving two hours to and from California City every Tuesday.

Prison - Walls - Series - Transformations - Dogs

Inside the prison walls, he witnessed a series of remarkable transformations. "When the dogs come in, they're like some of the inmates," Asgharnia says. "I remember one that was just terrified of everything—super skittish, wasn't able to cope with any kind of human. It went in there, and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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