From 2012 through 2021, Prison Greyhounds graduated 215 greyhounds in 41 classes from Putnamville Correctional Facility. We worked with 125 different offender-handlers, anywhere from 4 – 16 at a time. The men learned a lot. Gained a lot. But so did we. Volunteering is like that. Some of these offender-handlers are back home with family now. Living a different life. Making better decisions. Our volunteers, supporters and adopters made a big impact. Our tagline under our logo says it all: A new race. A new life.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Prison Greyhounds is an all-volunteer adoption group. Before the racing greyhound became scarce, our prison program helped to rehabilitate offenders before they were released into our community. Offender-dog-handlers in Putnamville Correctional Facility transitioned the greyhound from professional athlete to family pet. (Basic house manners) The dogs provided a calming, humanizing effect on the entire prison population. We covered the entire expense of this program; there were no tax dollars spent. It was free to IDOC. We covered all veterinary expenses, including spay and neuter, vaccinations, parasite treatments, dental cleaning. We paid for dog food, bedding, curriculum, toys, crates, all supplies for the dogs as well as their handlers. We provided curriculum. We believed that the best way to ensure the success of the program, and ensure that the dogs were doing well, was to have our own greyhound-savvy volunteers visit weekly to coach the offender-handlers. As far as we know, we are the only greyhound prison program to provide these weekly visits. We found responsible families that adopted each greyhound upon graduation. Uniquely, we were both the adoption group as well as the organization that ran the prison program.
Our mission changed. Not because of a decision we made, but because the vote to end dog racing in Florida had a wider impact than intended. The prison element to our adoption program had to be officially stopped in the summer of 2021. Sadly, racing greyhounds, also known as NGA greyhounds, have become scarce nationwide. There are simply not enough to adequately run a prison program. We now utilize only volunteer foster homes to transition greyhounds into family pets. But this explains how we came to be known as Prison Greyhounds. That is our history.