Prisoners serving time in the regional penitentiary of Pelotas, a city in the South of Brazil, have started a program aimed at helping the local dogs and the local prisoners. It’s a simple premise: every 3 days of work on the project reduces their jail sentence by 1 day.
The prisoners create little wooden shelters topped with a tin roof to keep stray dogs safe from the weather. Once the miniature houses are completed, they are placed around the city for stray dogs to come and go as they please.
The local residents keep these little houses stocked with blankets, newspaper, and leave water and food out for any dogs that might stay the night. Some residents have started donating materials to the prisons to help out with the project when supplies run low. In return, they ask for a few shelters to place on their own property.
There are so many street dogs in the area that locals are glad to keep the animals happy and healthy without a strain on their everyday life.
It’s good for nothing to just lock the person in a cell. So we try to give them something they can do, give some meaning in life.” The local officials justify the project.
The prisoners appreciate the opportunity for what it is: “I would work all day and all night if I could because winter here is very cold. [It is hard] for people, so is for an animal”, says a prisoner. “This really helps to make time goes by faster and keep our ideas out of crime.”
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