Human-Animal Interaction in a Prison Setting: Impact on Criminal Behavior, Treatment Progress, and Social Skills

Angela Krom Fournier, E. Scott Geller, Elizabeth E. Fortney


This quasi-experimental field study evaluated the effects of a forensic human-animal interaction (HAI) program on the criminal behavior of prison inmates. The study assessed the impact of the HAI program using between-subject methods and analyses. A total of 48 male inmates participated in the research by allowing researchers access to their institutional files and completing self-report measures. In general, it was hypothesized the HAI program would result in positive behavioral and psychosocial outcomes for inmates. Dependent measures included the frequency of institutional infractions, inmate treatment level within the prison's therapeutic community, and social skills. Analyses compared two groups of inmates in a pretest-posttest repeated-measures design, comparing a Treatment group with a Control group. Results indicated that inmates in the Treatment group evidenced statistically significant improvements in these dependent measures in comparison to the Control group.


human-animal interaction, criminal rehabilitation, social sensitivity, correctional psychology

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility