"Monroe Corrections Kitten Connections" Prison Foster Program
Our Prison Foster Program was recently highlighted in an article in Animal Sheltering Magazine, published by the Humane Society of the United States. Click here to read more about this partnership!
Purrfect Pals No-Kill Shelter and Sanctuary, located in Arlington, Washington, was founded on the belief that every cat matters. Purrfect Pals provides foster and hospice care, in addition to adoption services, for homeless cats. Purrfect Pals' mission is to end over population through humane education, spay/neuter programs and permanent placement in quality homes. Old, fragile, injured, newborns, stray and unwanted cats are accepted at Purrfect Pals.
Finding acceptable foster care for the feral or semi-feral kittens needing socialization and human contact has been an ongoing challenge for Purrfect Pals.
In the spring of 2006, that challenge was met by an unlikely group of individuals in the offenders at the Monroe Correctional Complex-Special Offender Unit (MCC-SOU). SOU is a psychiatric prison unit contained within MCC. The SOU E living unit houses 96 mentally ill offenders who enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to provide foster care for the young and/or feral kittens. Monroe Corrections Kitten Connections (MCKC) was developed as a way to provide quality kitten foster care while simultaneously motivating offenders to make positive life changes.
To qualify for the program, E Unit offenders must meet very stringent criteria which include exemplary behavior, good hygiene, psychiatric stability, a pro-social attitude and a high level of participation in correctional programs. Once screened for eligibility, all prospective candidates are interviewed by the unit staff. If approved, the new foster parent receives training from Purrfect Pals Volunteers on how to care for their kittens.
This undeniably unique partnership has been a success with enormous benefits for both Purrfect Pals and the offenders of E Unit. The MCKC Program has reduced offender idleness, taught offenders about responsibility and increased their self esteem. Since the program's inception, offenders have been motivated to enroll in school, obtain jobs, obey unit rules and improve their hygiene so that they may become MCKC participants.
The presence of animals on E Unit has added a new calmness to E Unit's therapeutic milieu and strengthened its community spirit.
Countless kittens, that might otherwise have been euthanized, have all been altered and adopted. Purrfect Pals pays for all the costs related to the program such as food, litter, crates and veterinarian care.
The amazing partnership between Purrfect Pals and MCC has made this wonderful program possible.