Partnership is rebuilding lives

Reintegration officer Roger Jantjies with a prisoner and a refuge dog.
Reintegration officer Roger Jantjies with a prisoner and a refuge dog.

Prisoners at Wandoo are volunteering at the Dogs Refuge, working alongside staff and other volunteers, preparing the dogs for rehoming and helping with maintenance.

Dogs are also taken to the prison to help socialise them with people.

Wandoo director Wendy Sinclair said the partnership provided significant benefits to the prisoners.

‘The young men make connections with the dogs, which in turn helps them to show affection,’ she said.

‘At the same time, they work as a team with other volunteers and staff who help support and teach them, developing social skills and a work ethic that is important for reintegration to society,’ Ms Sinclair said.

Refuge general manager Judy Flanagan said the partnership provided a win-win for both organisations.

For one prisoner, the opportunity to volunteer has meant much more than expected.

‘There was one time when two ladies were talking to me and I realised that when I get out I need to change and work hard and be responsible, which I try and do when I am at the refuge, and working towards getting my qualifications.’