Hsinchu Jail launched Asia’s first inmate canine coaching program in 2006, leading to considerably decrease charges of recidivism
By Han Cheung / Workers reporter
Chen Chu-long (陳鉅龍) was so terrified earlier than his first day in jail, his hair was falling out. Though the skilled canine coach had stated sure to working there, his thoughts was stuffed with violent scenes from Hong Kong famous person Chow Yun-fat’s (周潤發) 1987 basic, Jail on Fireplace (監獄風雲).
“The inmates’ expressions have been fierce and aggressive,” Chen says. “I used to be afraid to look them within the eyes. However once they have been requested to share their experiences with canine that first day, they couldn’t cease speaking.”
That was 15 years in the past, and Hsinchu Jail’s canine coaching program for inmates, the primary of its form in Asia, continues to be going sturdy. For the primary 12 years, the recidivism fee for inmates who graduated from this system was zero % — far decrease than the nationwide common of 20 % to 40 %. Right this moment, it stays within the single digits. The jail has adopted out 76 canine within the meantime.
Photograph courtesy of P-Pet
It was just lately featured in pop heartthrob-turned-YouTuber Ken Chu’s (朱孝天) animal welfare channel P-Pet, the place the canine are seen performing troublesome tips comparable to leaping on their trainers’ backs, strolling backwards on their hind legs and submerging their faces in water to retrieve a ball.
It’s an opportunity for individuals and canine who’ve each been deserted by society to satisfy and alter one another, Chen says.
“It’s a stark reminder that each dwelling being, regardless of how imperfect or misunderstood, deserves a second likelihood,” Chu says.
Photograph courtesy of Hsinchu Jail
Chen has been coaching canine for over twenty years. He began out working at a authorities shelter in Hsinchu, however quickly give up to run his personal canine coaching college as a result of he couldn’t bear to be concerned in serving to in euthanizing unadopted canine anymore.
In 2006, Chen acquired a name from Kuo Su-chin (郭素琴), a neighborhood higher referred to as Mrs Chang (張太太) who has devoted her life to caring for stray animals. She stated then-Hsinchu Jail warden Huang Jui-jung (黃瑞榮), additionally a canine lover, was establishing a canine-training program and requested if he want to assist.
Photograph courtesy of P-Pet
“I stated sure instantly,” Chen says.
They began with six canine, three from the shelter and three strays. Most of them have been Labrador retrievers after the 2004 Japanese movie Quill, that includes a Labrador seeing-eye canine, sparked a craze in Taiwan, resulting in a mass abandonment over the subsequent few years.
The jail chosen six inmates who every selected a canine they have been drawn to. Chen recollects that one named his canine “An-an” (安安), which he quickly realized was quick for amphetamine (安非他命). Chen says that the canine was allowed to maintain the title.
“To many of those addicts, medicine have been a particularly vital a part of their lives,” he says. “I hoped that it might make it simpler for him to combine the canine into his life too.”
The canine and people spent the primary week getting used to one another, and the inmates did primary duties comparable to feeding, cleansing up poop and looking forward to parasites.
“The inmates have sophisticated emotions coming in,” Chen says. “They could surprise why they ended up in such a spot and begin to let their creativeness run amok. The canine too, they’re terrified. One didn’t eat for 5 days.”
Primary obedience coaching lasts for 3 or 4 months, then they transfer on to extra superior workout routines, earlier than they let the canine off leash. It builds belief and confidence, and gives a way of accomplishment for the inmates.
“It’s essentially the most primal connection between people and animals,” Chen says. “After they pet the canine and look into their eyes, you’ll be able to sense a connection and feeling that solely a coach and their canine can share. Quickly, the inmate’s expressions begin softening. The change may be very apparent.”
Each Chen and Chu share a number of tales about how inmates have modified.
A-Hsuan (阿?), who’s in jail on drug prices, says in Chu’s video that he was impulsive and really fast to anger earlier than he met his canine Robin. “I might even yell at my household in the event that they didn’t convey what I wished throughout visitations,” he says.
“However being with Robin, I actually discovered the worth of calmness, persistence, and persistence. In canine coaching, you’ll be able to’t even begin forming a relationship with the canine except you’ll be able to see it from the canine’s perspective. This has actually taught me in regards to the significance of empathy and understanding what it feels prefer to be within the different individual’s sneakers.”
A number of inmates have adopted the canine they educated after getting out of jail. Chen’s favourite story is a former inmate surnamed Lo (羅), who took in his trainee Kuchi. Lo had the canine carry out the ribbon chopping ceremony when he opened his enterprise, and he usually hires and helps individuals who graduated from the canine coaching program.
A-chung (阿中), who additionally seems in Chu’s video, says he was a rash and short-tempered individual, however he calmed down by coaching A-yong (阿勇).
“If studying to be affected person can change A-yong’s life for the higher, then that already makes me very blissful,” he says.
Feedback might be moderated. Hold feedback related to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, private assaults of any form or promotion might be eliminated and the person banned. Ultimate resolution might be on the discretion of the Taipei Occasions.