Federico is part of a puppy training program behind bars that allows incarcerated individuals to raise and train puppies for people with disabilities, veterans, and first responders. In prison, connection is gold—having family to speak with, receiving visitors, mail, email, birthday cards, phone calls. But it is not easy. If we’re asking people to heal in prison, to “rehabilitate,” to return to their communities healthy, engaged, ready to join and serve, then we must remember that isolation is not the answer.
Phone calls from prison are outrageously expensive. Emails are, too, including the device one must purchase to view and send emails. Some prisons are switching to video visits only, losing the vitality and nourishing quality of in-person visits.
Which is why seeing Federico getting to hold, touch, and care for these puppies is so uplifting. We heal with companionship. We heal with touch. We heal when we get the opportunity to care for someone else. This should be the aim of any rehabilitative program—moving from disconnection to connection. Recognizing our oneness. Finding love and comfort in each other.