The Justice Ministry will allow inmates in four prisons to raise dogs, as part of a pilot project aimed at reducing anxiety, depression and other antisocial behaviour among convicts.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said on Thursday the Department of Corrections will test the efficacy of animal-assisted therapy in Nakhon Ratchasima, Rayong, Khlong Phai and Khao Bin prisons, with the intention of psychologically preparing inmates to rejoin wider society following their incarceration.
The department is working with animal associations and shelters to seek out dogs for the project, the minister said. It's not clear how much time inmates will get to spend with the animals.
Before an inmate can partake in the project, a supervisor will match him or her with a dog that suits the character and/or temperament of the inmate, to ensure the project's success. Inmates will also be briefed by a veterinarian on how to handle a dog and look after it.
If the project is well received, it will be expanded to other correctional facilities in the country, the minister said.