The Pendleton Correctional Facility in Indiana brings together cats and inmates in the FORWARD Program. FORWARD stands for Felines and Offenders Rehabilitation with Affection, Reformation and Dedication. Inmates care for abandoned and abused cats in a Cat Sanctuary inside the correctional facility, performing tasks such as providing food and water, cleaning the litter boxes and grooming the cats. The program has shown some remarkable outcomes for the offenders, including increased empathy, responsibility and self-esteem. FORWARD and other programs pairing pets with inmates help reduce recidivism and improve inmate relationships inside correctional facilities. Maleah Stringer, who has developed many animal/inmate programs, said, “Our mission is making second chances possible through the human-animal connection. Because of that connection with the animals, we’re able to help offenders who are serious about trying to do it differently when they get out.”

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