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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 23, 2015
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(850) 488-0420

WKMG Orlando: Inmates, shelter dogs benefit from Osceola County training program

Published July 22, 2015
By: Paul Giorgio

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Dozens of dogs in the Osceola County Animal Services shelter are finding new homes thanks to a program offered by the Florida Department of Corrections and The Transition House of Kissimmee.

The inmates, or clients as they are called, are in the training program voluntarily. It's one of many vocations the men have the option of learning while they stay at the complex.

"It's working out fantastic," said Dennis Havelick, the facility director. "The fact that we go there and bring dogs into our program is a lifesaver, not only for the dogs, but for the clients as well."

An inmate we'll call Joe who is in the final months of his 10-year prison sentence for DUI manslaughter, agrees…

"We're in a very positive environment here," he said. "I think if other programs would adopt these types of structured programs, we would see a much more successful re-entry into society."

Havelick said he agrees. He said The Transition House is unique in that it offers inmates a chance to adjust to society and learn a skill before being released.

"Every one of these guys is going to get out of prison. They're going to get out and be someone's neighbor," Havelick said. "We want them to be respectful, we want them to be able to communicate and just function in society on a higher level than they did when they came in."


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 140,000 offenders in the community.

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