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Correctional Facility Program

The Full Story


In 1999, Ray Roberts was the warden of the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. Warden Roberts was contacted and given a presentation about starting a puppy training program at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. Mr. Robert Speer and Mr. Johnny Goddard supported the program which began in June, 1999. ECF has had a puppy training program for CARES continually since that summer. Currently, Mr. Rick Perkins is the ECF staff person in charge of the puppy training program.

Since the original puppy program began at ECF, CARES has had several other correctional facility puppy training programs. At this time, CARES has a partnership with 5 more facilities including four federal facilities; Leavenworth, Florence, Terre Haute and Springfield. The most recent addition is Ft. Leavenworth JRCF which is a military correctional facility.


In order for an inmate to become a puppy trainer, they must maintain a non-disciplinary action time period as designated by each facility. An inmate will then complete an application, go through an interview process followed by a handler training class. Once selected to become an inmate puppy handler, they are assigned a puppy suited to that particular handler. They are required to regularly train, groom and keep health care records of their puppy. At the end of each month the handler completes a monthly report which is sent to CARES for review.

On a regular basis, CARES staff members visit the correctional facilities to deliver food and supplies as well as provide training and support to the inmate handlers.

From the beginning, inmate handlers have worked with over 1500 puppies. CARES currently has almost 100 handlers and secondary handlers in the correctional facility programs. These programs are a win/win for CARES and the facilities. As this mission has as many benefits to the inmate handlers as it does for CARES.


Thank you to all our puppy program directors:

Leavenworth  –  William Adams

Florence  –  Alyssa Marquette, Adam Haight

Springfield  –  Matt Parrish, Zachary Copeland

Terre Haute  –  Josh Gard

Ft. Leavenworth  –  Sgt. Bowman, Sgt. Baca


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