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Qualifications for Puppies Behind Bars program

*Inmates who want to participate must be certified as being in good physical and mental health.

*No sex offenders qualify for the program.

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*They must have good disciplinary records.

*They ought to have at least their General Equivalency Diploma (GED) because the program requires reading and writing, along with homework.

*They cannot have committed a "heinous" crime. The definition is deliberately vague, says an official, because authorities want the flexibility to bar anyone whose crime indicates a nature unsuited to the nurturing of a puppy. Not defining exactly what "heinous" means allows them more freedom to reject someone that they intuitively believe is wrong for the program.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society