Paws in Prison 

             About the PIP Program

What makes the Paws in Prison Program so special?

  • We provide a unique training and learning program that uses rescue dogs in the rehabilitation of prison inmates. The rescued dogs are trained by the inmates.
  • Many of these dogs were the lost, the unwanted and the sick. Each one was at risk. 
  • Each one is saved.

Why do we do what we do?
  • We believe in second chances, and that compassion can change the course of a life.
  • We believe that by helping to heal another, an individual allows their own healing to begin.
  • We believe that nearly everything is possible.

How we do it?

  • We use positive reinforcement and gentle instruction in our animal training programs.
  • We provide guided training and extensive hands-on experience, at a pace that is adapted to meet the needs of each individual.
  • We give responsibility and then ensure that it is used well.

The program takes place at the prison in Lockhart Texas. All dogs brought into the program are spayed/neutered, heartworm negative, and on monthly preventative for heartworms, micro chipped, up-to-date on all shots, and potty and crate trained. Over time each dog learns basic obedience by a team of inmate handlers. All inmates participating in the program have been taught to train their dogs using positive and compassionate methods. It is this journey - for inmates and rescue dogs - that is the center of the program. 

The Paws in Prison Program spends an average of $300 on medical care for every dog that comes into the program. There are other program contributions that are provided by volunteers, and much needed supplies provided with donations from numerous partners throughout the community.

This program brings positive and enduring impacts to the women inmates, both during their time in the Lockhart prison and after they leave and pick up with their lives. Most of these women are mothers, all will return to society. And many of these lives have been profoundly changed. 

Please read some of the testimonials of former inmates, as well as from families who have adopted now healthy and well trained rescue dogs.

We are a non profit organization that relies on charitable donations and grants

Your donations and support are essential and greatly appreciated. We are a community of people, and together we can help change lives. 

For more information, please check out our donation page. Or call us, and we would be happy to explain what we're doing and what our needs are. To reach the Friends of Paws in Prison charity call: (830) 379-7000. You can also send us an email      

All dogs participating in the program come from local shelters.

The Paws in Prison Program works closely with area shelters and rescue groups which allows us the opportunity serve our community by saving dogs' lives while providing quality programming for offenders.

The success of this program is possible due to the unique working relationship between our donors, community rescue partners, the prison facility, our Program Director, and dedicated volunteers.  Our goal is to take homeless dogs and make them more adoptable by putting attention on their physical and mental health, providing basic obedience training, ensuring house and crate training and indoor manners.  We achieve that goal by each party doing their part.  

Our rescue partners provide the program with dogs who may be at risk of being euthanized or have little chance of adoption for any number of reasons.  It may be due to lack of space, an easily treated medical condition, or the stress of being in a shelter that makes them unlikely candidates for the shelter's adoption program.  In any case, all they need is to be able to regain their medical and mental health, given training, leadership and attention and they transform in to wonderful canine companions.

In our program we make certain the dogs have good temperaments, are vaccinated, spayed/neutered and micro chipped.   We provide a professional certified dog trainer who volunteers each week, a curriculum, space for training, a dedicated program  manager and other needed items.  

Most important, we provide motivated inmates to care for and train the animals. We know that being a part of this program has made a lifelong impact on them and something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. 

With each class, our handlers are becoming more confident and experienced.  This means that the dogs are better trained and learning at a faster pace.  

Each of the dogs learn basic obedience commands, walking on a loose leash, are house trained and crate trained.  Many learn several tricks and other commands besides the basics.  Much time is spent nurturing and socializing the dogs who may have been abused, abandoned, and/or not socialized in the past.

The Paws in Prison Program is not a rescue.

Please note that we do not function as a rescue and cannot take your personal dog. All of our dogs come from rescue organizations. For information on rescues refer to our Partners page.

For more information: 
  call    (830) 305 2629