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Four-legged therapists visit prison

Four-legged therapists visit prison

Sunday 28 April 2019

Four-legged therapists visit prison

Prisoners at La Moye recently received a 'furry' unexpected visit when a trio of therapy dogs visited to help them with rehabilitation ahead of their release.

They were joined by three members of Jersey Therapy Dogs, Sunshine, Kipper and Nico, and their owners Valery Johnson, John Noonan and Ian Hutchinson.

The four-legged therapists are used to promote wellbeing, provide emotional and behavioural benefits, whilst offering respite for people in various situations. 


Pictured: Sunshine and Nikko with their owners outside the prison.

Nick Cameron, Governor and Head of States of Jersey Prison Service, said that therapy dogs is just one of the "variety of ways" the prison use to support prisoners who may be struggling emotionally with adjusting to life in prison."

He added: "Therapy dogs, in particular, have proved to be one of the ways in which we can support the rehabilitation of prisoners with mental health and behavioural issues, and help to prepare them for release.

"The dogs also come with their wonderful owners, who will talk to prisoners and discuss a range of matters.” 

Nico therapy dog with prisoners

Pictured: Nikko hanging out with a group of prisoners.

The prison's Unit Manager, Tony Brown, has led the implementation of the scheme on behalf of the Governor. The Jersey Therapy Dogs will visit the prison once a week, during the evenings so as not to disturb educational programmes or employment skill activities. The prisoners are also able to talk to the dog handlers and learn about the dogs’ lives. 

Valery Johnson, owner of a therapy dog, said: “Being able to stroke and be close with the dogs really offers a feeling of calm and reassurance.

"We are really pleased to be able to assist the States of Jersey Prison Service and to support prisoners whilst in prison, and help them prepare for their successful return to the community.”  

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