CANBERRA, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Prisoners in Australia's Northern Territory (NT) could soon be given puppies under a new reform scheme.
Scott McNairn, the Commissioner of NT Corrections, told News Corp Australia recently that he is currently negotiating with animal welfare organizations to launch the Pups in Prison program.
"For the prisoners, it provides an opportunity to take on responsibility for the training and temporary care of a dog," he said.
"That bonding process can have huge benefits for individuals to build empathy and a caring nature that can also be transferred to human relationships including family and friends," he said.
"The benefits for the animals is they can have a dedicated handler for periods of time to socialize and train them on a regular basis," he said.
McNairn said that if it goes ahead the program would only be offered to prisoners with a history of good behaviour.
"We are looking at a range of programs including expanding existing programs," he said.
"These include in the horticultural area which has many benefits as prisoners learn valuable new skills they can take back to their communities when released such as growing local produce and food for their families," he said.
"At the moment, we are growing fruits and vegetables that help supplement our fresh supplies in the kitchen," he added.