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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Press Release
July 6, 2015
For More Information
Contact: Communications
(850) 488-0420

Daytona Beach News-Journal: Prisoners,
dogs get second chance at Tomoka Correctional Institution

Published July 1, 2015
By: Casmira Harrison

To view the story online, visit:

War veteran Glenn Gray is looking forward to having dreams instead of nightmares and a 3-year-old dog named Bella will eventually help.

"I feel like crying, if you want to know the truth," said Gray, who attended Wednesday's graduation ceremony, the 31st for the Prison Pups N Pals program at Tomoka Correctional Institution near Daytona Beach.

The program began in 2010 with just 13 dogs and has doubled in size as evidenced by Wednesday's ceremony.

The Humane Society and the West Volusia Kennel Club partner with the state prison to help dogs like Bella become more adoptable, lessening the likelihood they'll languish at the shelter. Inmates at the prison spend about seven weeks training the dogs to sit, stay and obey his owner's commands.

The partnership is meant to instill good citizenship in the animals as well as the inmates upon eventual release from the institution.

Caretakers and trainers exude confidence, pride and beaming smiles that echo the dogs' demeanors.

Inmate and caretaker Jeffery Ham describes the feelings that the program promotes.

"It makes you focused on somebody other than yourself," Ham says in a prison doorway decorated with red, white and blue — honoring the veterans that came to watch their new pups graduate.

And that is exactly what Tomoka Correctional Institution Warden Terry Royal is attempting to accomplish with the program.

"If we're not trying to change lives, we're not doing anything for society," Royal says.



As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.

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