Massachusetts Department of Corrections
North Central Correctional Institution
along with
(National Education for Assistance Dog Services)

Prison PUP Program

On December 23, 1998 NCCI and NEADS entered into the partnership to establish this mutually beneficial program. Under directon of staff, inmates raise future service dogs for NEADS, teaching the dogs basic obedience and other skills needed to prepare them for their future careers as "service dogs" assisting the physically disabled. Following their training with the inmates, the dogs will learn advanced skills, such as retrieving dropped articles or the portable telephone, turning light switches on and off and opening doors, at the NEADS dog training Campus in Princeton, Massachusetts.

Neads Building

"Community reparation is one of the most important objects of the Department of Corrections and we want to make sure that the inmates are giving something back to the communities that they once violated," said the Department of Corrections Commissioner Michael Maloney. "This innovative program is the latest of our reparation efforts, and allows inmates to contribute to society without compromising public safety or security in our institutions."


The Prison PUP Partnership program was developed at North Central Correctional Institution with the influence of Sister Pauline Quinn op, to give inmates the opportunity to give back to the community plus provide the help needed to run these special programs.


According to NEADS, this innovative program expedites the training process and therefore enables service dogs to be placed with clients at a much faster rate. The puppy raisers/trainers are minimum security inmates who are willing and able to commit approximately eighteen months to the care and training of these special dogs. The inmate must meet specific criteria regarding compliance with educational work and all substance abuse programing recommendations. In addition, these inmates must possess an overall positive institutional record and a positive attitude.

Prison Pup

NCCI was the first Massachusetts Department of Correction facility to incorporate this program with hopes that it will expand to other facilities.

Assistant Dogs with Trainers

NEADS is one of the oldest and largest programs of its kind; was the first to use facility-based training to develop a strong working relationship between the student and his dog. Since 1979, NEADS has trained over 600 working dogs for service across the United States.


Training Facility

NEADS is a non profit organization established to provide Hearing and Service Dogs for people who are deaf or who use wheelchairs. These Assistance Dogs become an extension of their owners and bring security, freedom, independence and relief from social isolation to their human partners.

Return to the Prison Pet Partnership Program page.

Prisoners Training Dogs for the Disabled

NEADS Prison PUP Partnership News Articles

Any information that you might need write to:

Superintendent Lynn Bissonette
North Central Correctional Institution
500 Coloney Rd
Gardner, Massachusetts 01440
Phone (508) 792-7588

To Contact Neads:

You can also Contact:
Sister Pauline through e-mail:

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