Source: (2011) Dissertation submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work. The University of Utah.

The prison population in the United States is growing at an alarming rate. Incarcerated women manifest distinctly greater psychological distress than do their male counterparts. In addition, these women demonstrate higher rates of mood disorder, substance use disorders, and personality disorders. Ranging from individual and group therapy to vocational training, corrections facilities use various forms of therapeutic interventions in an attempt to provide inmates with the resources necessary to develop healthy coping skills and function successfully in society. For many years corrections facilities have used animals as rehabilitative or therapeutic tools. However, there have been few studies looking at the efficacy of programs using animals with incarcerated populations. This dissertation presents how I examined the impact of an animal assisted therapy group with female inmates at the Utah State Prison. (Excerpt).