080: Rehabilitating Prisoners and Giving Them a New Sense of Pride — Puppies Behind Bars with Eric Barsness

Prisoners find a new sense of purpose by training service dogs.

Eric Barsness is the Director of Development for Puppies Behind Bars, a program where inmates raise and train service dogs for wounded war veterans and Explosive Detection Canines (EDC) for law enforcement. This program offers inmates a new sense of purpose and gives them tasks that help prove they can be productive members of society.

Key Takeaways:

[3:35] What is Puppies Behind Bars about?

[6:30] How do the inmates help these puppies?

[9:55] These inmates can be eligible for parole  6 months earlier if they have successfully worked in Eric’s program for 18 months.

[10:15] Eric currently has 4 former-inmates working for his organization.

[12:25] What happens to the dogs during the program and after?

[15:05] The dogs end up fitting into two careers – Service dogs or Explosive Detection Canines (EDC).

[18:15] Prison inmates, to a degree, have many of the same symptoms veterans do.

[19:50] The dogs get swapped every 6 months so that they spend their time in different environments.

[20:50] Have any of Eric’s dogs in this program found explosives?

[23:10] Dogs are trained to help find a veteran’s car.

[24:35] Puppies Behind Bars is currently in 5 facilities and is in the process of opening a 6th one.

[25:00] The program was founded in 1997.

[27:25] How did Eric personally get involved with Puppies Behind Bars?

[32:55] Eric talks about the founder, Gloria Gilbert Stoga.

[36:25] There is room for growth in this area!

[41:45] Eric talks about sponsorship and how the program gets funded.

[49:00] How can people get involved?

Mentioned in This Episode:

Giving Back Podcast

Puppies Behind Bars


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