Prisoners help more than 40 dogs find forever homes

Prisoners at the Saginaw Correctional Facility helped more than 40 dogs find forever homes. (Photo credit: Amanda Chodnicki)

Prisoners at the Saginaw Correctional Facility have helped 40 dogs find forever homes in just one year through the Iron Paws Corrected Canines program.

As a result, the sounds of dogs barking and laughter can be heard coming from the prison.

"They're in the cell with us," an inmate said. "It's two guys to a dog."

It may not sound like a normal prison sentence, but this program is all about second chances, something inmate Jamie Sylvester knows all about.

"Being locked up and him coming from the pound, I felt his pain," Sylvester said.

The program allows prisoners like Sylvester to train a dog from the Saginaw County Animal Control in order to help them get a home, get that second chance.

After weeks of training, the dogs are able to graduate from the program and then go up for adoption.

"You fall in love with them and then you got to hand them off and you're like, 'Wow,'" Sylvester said. "But you got to remember they're going to a better place."

Officer Joaquin Guerrero said, like pit bulls, these prisoners often have bad reps.

"And then everyone right away looks at them and are like, 'Oh my gosh,'" he said. "But in reality they're great dogs."

Guerrero said many of these guys are also great people that have just made mistakes.

"We're doing this to better the dogs and give the dogs a chance at a life," another inmate Ross Culver said.

Little do they know, they're also bettering themselves.

"All the dogs got adopted, so we got to be doing something right," Sylvester added.

All inmates must be ticket-free to participate in the Iron Dogs Corrected Canines program.

This means they must have outstanding behavior, or their dog, their second chance, could be taken away.

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