First Advisor

Melissa M. Appleyard

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Business Administration: Finance and University Honors


Business Administration


Recidivism -- United States -- Prevention, Animals -- Therapeutic use, Criminals -- Rehabilitation -- United States




In the United States' correctional system, inmate programs within prisons often do not reduce recidivism. Recent surveys have shown that across the country many prisons have a form of a Prison Based Animal Program (PAP). This study examines the effect that Prison based Animal Programs have on reducing recidivism through their therapeutic effects, focusing specifically on identifying the best practices for structuring such programs and measuring outcomes, for which there is little research. The research is based on a review of journal articles, industry reports, and a case study of a PAP. The analysis incorporates the shift in emphasis from retribution to restoration in current views of correctional facilities. This research points to the value of increasing adoption of PAPs because of their effects on reducing recidivism. The literature review starts with the definition of recidivism and the difficulties with measuring it. It then examines the current state of the prison industry and the two philosophies of correctional facilities – punitive and rehabilitative. It moves on to an assessment of PAPs, their types, leading operating practices, associated performance measures, their benefits and risks, as well as the funding challenges they face. Following this literature review and research analysis, recommendations are formulated regarding the use of PAPs across federal and state prisons. These programs typically survive on community volunteers and donations and occasionally grants, and therefore a more stable funding source, such as from federal or state governments, would be merited. Grants designed specifically for PAP programs should be created. Through an analysis of the available literature on the prison industry, on other prison programs aimed at reducing recidivism, and on current PAPs, the ideal structure of a prison-oriented program is developed. The conclusions drawn from this research will aid in the strategic recommendations for a BA Honors Business Strategy Capstone client in spring term 2016.


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