In 1994, a Florida prison started a small zoo with a group of homeless ducks. Eventually people began dropping off unwanted pets.
Jail petting zoo: Inmates save exotic animalsA Florida jail lets inmates care for exotic animals in petting zoo.
Several years later, the zoo was nearly shut down after being cited with violations. All of that changed when Jeanne Selander, Farmer Jeanne as she’s known, stepped in to save the animals, and the inmates who care for them.
“They learn compassion from working with animals,” Selander explained. “It also gives them a purpose and it makes them feel like they are doing something worthwhile.
Ten years later, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Children’s Animal Park now has 150 animals, including some exotic species.
Adam Korzen was convicted on drug charges and is back in jail for violating his parole. He says working with the animals is like therapy.
“We interact with each other different when we are down here, and then you have the animals which bring out the best in you,” Korzen said.
As Full Frame Contributor Jim Spellman explains, it’s a thriving program that’s good for the community, good for the animals, and great for the inmates.
Connect with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm on Facebook