WATCH: Puppies graduate to help kids in need
A GROUP of clever puppies have thrown off their graduation gowns and caps and will now head off to a new life helping children with disabilities.
Nacho, Ninja, Nixie and Nellie became the second group of assistance dogs to complete the Smart Pups program with the help of prisoners in the Borallon Training and Correctional Centre.
The pups will be placed with a child in need of assistance somewhere in Australia or New Zealand.
The facility's acting general manager Alan Houchin said the initiative was another way the centre was attempting to break the cycle of re-offending.
"International research confirms that dog handling programs such as this are effective in helping improve prisoner behaviour while in custody, with prisoners less likely to re-offend when compared to those not involved in a dog handling program," he said.
"We also know that when prisoners are released into the community and have employment opportunities, stable accommodation and social support, they have the best chance of not re-offending, which makes the community safer for everybody."
There now 20 successful graduates through the prisoner training program, which is also run at the Maryborough Correctional Centre, that are now qualified working assistance dogs.
Zane, Zeus, Vadar and Velvet are the next batch of puppies due to graduate from the program at Borallon in September.
Queensland Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Martin said it was heartening to see the Smart Pups program continue in another centre to improve prisoner outcomes.
"This is a great initiative, also running at Maryborough Correctional Centre, that provides prisoners with valuable skills that improves their chances of finding a job and reintegrating with the community once released," he said.
"It is gratifying to see another rehabilitation program helping prisoners understand the causes of their offending, while also helping disadvantaged people in the community."