|Photo courtesy Rick Bowmer for the Associated Press.|
Contreras and his cellmate, after passing the screening process, are two of the four inmates in the "Cuddly Catz" program at Larch Correctional Facility in Yacolt. "
Nobody was wanting to adopt her," Contreras said. "We got her and it's been awesome ever since."
It wasn't awesome at the outset. She came as advertised, Contreras said — moody, dysfunctional and prone to violence. But the changes in his newest cellmate are evident.
She can now be petted, brushed and even held for a few minutes. She still growls but rarely hisses. She has a scratching post and perch that takes up a healthy chunk of the 12 foot-by-10 foot cell. Contreras and his cellmate care for her in shifts.
The debate about evidence-based programming in prison is heated because programs require resources, but this seems to be a fairly cheap program to administer. All it takes is cat food, litter boxes, and the occasional vet visit; not an insurmountable expense. This could be something to think about in California, too, post-realignment.
The comments on the article seem fairly benign so far, but I can imagine some readers thinking that allowing inmates to keep pets is unnecessary coddling. What do you think?