ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's justice minister will see for himself today the difference therapy dogs are making in a jail that critics say is a tinderbox.
Andrew Parsons will visit Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's as inmates spend time with St. John Ambulance therapy dogs.
The program introduced in April now offers monthly visits with canine volunteers.
The province says the dogs give offenders an immediate lift and some relief from both physical and mental health issues.
Assaults have escalated in recent years at the jail, which has an original stone structure dating back to 1859.
Provincial officials have repeatedly asked Ottawa for help to build an entirely new building with modern space for programs.
The Canadian Press