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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary


Media Advisory
June 27, 2011
For More Information
Contact: Gretl Plessinger
Communications Director
(850) 488-0420

Reporters invited to Graduation of Inmate-Trained Dogs on June 28

Previous UTOPIA graduating class and their inmate instructors
Previous UTOPIA graduating class and their inmate instructors

WHO: Reporters are invited to the UTOPIA graduation ceremony of the latest class of dogs trained by state inmates at Taylor Work Camp in Perry, Florida. Reporters will have opportunities to film the dogs, to interview the staff and inmates, and to be there when the coveted “Top Dog” award is announced.

WHEN: The graduation takes place on Tuesday, June 28,2011 at 10 am at the Taylor Correctional Institution’s Work Camp.

WHAT:  UTOPIA stands for Undergoing Training & Obedience in Prison to Increase Adoptability. UTOPIA dogs spend almost three months at Taylor Correctional Institution’s Work Camp being trained by an inmate and can sit, stay, come and walk by your side without pulling on the leash. They are crate trained and housebroken. They have all their shots, are microchipped, and have been spayed or neutered.

WHY: 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.  

DEPARTMENT CONTACT:  If you wish to attend the UTOPIA graduation ceremony, please contact the Department of Corrections’ Communications Office at (850) 488-0420 several days before the scheduled graduation, as background checks will need to be completed.

OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS: To adopt a UTOPIA graduate, contact the Leon Community Animal Service Center’s Lisa Glunt at (850) 891-2950 or go here to find out more http://www.talgov.com/animals/utopia.cfm. Adoption only costs $150 – a bargain since you won’t have to pay for dog training!

DIRECTIONS TO TAYLOR WORK CAMP: Hwy-27 to US-98 and turn west for 3 ½ miles to CR-356 and turn left (south) for 6 miles. The facility is on the left.