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March 31, 2009

Former death row inmates guarding prisons

Guard dog OK, it's not quite what you might think. The Associated Press is reporting on a prison in Boise, Idaho, that has managed to cut escapes down to zero by employing some tough dudes to patrol their perimeter--dogs that were destined for a lethal injection because of their inability to get along with humans. With the dogs on duty, the prison's perimeter guards are quickly alerted when something is happening out of their line of sight, and power outages no longer pose a problem for security.

This seems to me like a great example of stewardship. Not only is the prison actually saving money and doing its job better, but these animals get a second chance at life. Undoubtedly some of these dogs wound up the way they are because humans abused or neglected them. Not every mean dog can meet the Dog Whisperer and turn into a lovable pet. For those who can't and who don't have any other options left, being given an important job that suits their temperament seems like a little bit of redemption--for the dogs and for us, the human society that failed them in our role as stewards.

(Image © Paul Hosefros for the AP)

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I read a headline today even more encouraging:

A work detail of inmates found a toddler wandering on a highway, and they baby-sat him, fed him and entertained him until he could be returned to his parents. That warms my heart.

It was probably very good for the inmates as well.

Jason Taylor

I suppose there is a certain amount of logic in using dogs that have learned to be mean to guard prisons.

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