Käpp ja Käsi / Hand and Paw


participants completed the full programme


dogs were rehomed

In Estonia, there are an estimated 2,400 inmates, with nearly 35% of released individuals committing a new crime within a year.

“Hand and Paw” launched a pilot program in 2018 after successfully completing the NULA incubator, allowing inmates in open prisons in Tallinn and Tartu to develop their social skills while training shelter dogs under the guidance of a professional instructor and supervision.

Since 2020, the program has been aimed at former inmates receiving accommodation or support services. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the first group began in spring 2021.

The program aims to increase the participation of released inmates in the job market, use of social services, and reduce recidivism. Further developments are focused on shaping the program into a tool for supporting mentors for released inmates, thus encouraging more former inmates to participate.

Participants’ self-assessment, readiness for development, and satisfaction with life are assessed through questionnaires before and after the program. A study of participants in the initial groups revealed a decrease in negative emotions and an increase in self-esteem, patience, and life satisfaction.

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