New Leash On Life                                                                                                                                                2012

In the spring of 2013 the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a six-part series on a Philadelphia prisons program that matched inmates with behaviorally challenged dogs. New Leash on Life - like other prison dog training programs throughout Pennsylvania, is a second chance for inmates to turn their lives around and often the last chance for many difficult dogs on death row in the city's public shelter.

 

While the program’s goal is to prepare every inmate for possible employment in the pet care industry once they leave prison, this essay focuses on three dogs and their trainers. They are distilled from the articles, written by Melissa Dribben, and represent many weeks visiting the prison and families who adopted dogs. The stories and photographs won several awards and were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. 

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Jamal finds out from his attorney that he is eligible for parol two weeks before the program is over. He decides to stay the extra time in order to receive his training certificate.