June 18, 2010
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
Taylor CI Officer and his adoptee
Harrison will be graduating on June 30.
TALLAHASSEE -- Reporters are invited to the third anniversary and the 16th class graduation ceremony of the Undergoing Training and Obedience in Prison to Increase Adoptability (UTOPIA) program at Taylor Correctional Institution Work Camp at 10:00 AM EST on June 30, 2010. Reporters will have an opportunity to interview and photograph/film inmates and program participants.
UTOPIA brings together rescue dogs from the Tallahassee Animal Service Center with inmates and gives each a second chance to succeed. UTOPIA dogs are obedience trained by inmates at Taylor Work Camp, who were themselves trained by a professional dog trainer in the hopes that they may find gainful employment upon release from prison. The trained dogs are then released to the Animal Service Center for adoption. Upon graduation, each dog can respond to standard commands. They are housebroken, crate trained, and have all their shots. They've been spayed or neutered and micro-chipped.
There are currently seven inmate dog training programs in the Florida Department of Corrections. One each at Wakulla CI near Tallahassee, Taylor CI in Perry, FL, Gainesville CI, Gulf Forestry Camp in Wewahitchka, FL, and a new one at Tomoka CI in Volusia county. The Department also has inmate programs in South Florida that train companion dogs for disabled veterans’ and persons with disabilities.
Currently one of every three inmates released from the Florida prison system returns to prison within three years. Through programs like UTOPIA, the Department of Corrections is focusing on teaching inmates viable job skills that will lead them to productive jobs and law-abiding lives upon release.
If you wish to attend the UTOPIA graduation ceremony, please contact the Department of Corrections’ Communications Office at (850) 488-0420 by June 25, 2010.
Directions to Taylor Work Camp (at 8501 Hampton Springs Road, Perry, Florida 32348-8747): Take HWY 27 South from Tallahassee to US 98 in Perry and take a right (West). Go approximately 3 1/2 miles to CR-356 (Hampton Springs Rd.) and take a left. Go approximately 6 miles and you will see Taylor Correctional Work Camp on your left.