Mates for Inmates

Mates for Inmates is a pilot program based on the American Pups in Prison model. The program aims to match dogs in need of training and re-housing with specially screened and selected candidates.

The candidates will be taught dog handling skills and learn to care for and groom the animals. At the end of their course, the candidates will come away with new skills, which they can continue to use and develop after they exit prison. 

The program aims to:

  • Support women transitioning back into the community by addressing their social and community connection, confidence and self esteem, ultimately breaking the cycle of re-offending.
  • Assist in training abandoned dogs by Lort Smith so that they can then be adopted into loving families, giving them a whole new life.
  • Help Melbourne City Mission support people and communities to develop their pathways away from disadvantage, and help them to find jobs or enter into education and training.

Not only does the program aim to rehabilitate these homeless dogs and increase their adoptability by providing them with training and love, it also rehabilitates the women by giving them responsibility, a sense of purpose and providing them with future opportunity for employment. Prison management believe these types of programs improve the overall atmosphere at the prison, creating a more positive environment, improving interpersonal relationships, and providing the women with job training, allowing for smoother re-entry into society.


Melbourne City Mission is currently funding these pilot programs with the hope to raise enough money to make this program a permanent fixture within Victorian prisons. We are currently taking donations to help us with the costs associated with running these pilot programs. 

Please click here to make a donation to make a donation or to find out more information about this appeal.

Contact us

For further information about this service, please contact our Justice Manager on 03 8625 9921.

To make a donation, please contact 1300 364 507.

Enquire about this service

For all enquiries 03 8625 9989