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Prisoners Training Service Dogs For Disabled Veterans

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A veteran of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne who was shot and paralyzed during the Iraq war, goes down a hallway with his new service dog. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A veteran of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne who was shot and paralyzed during the Iraq war, goes down a hallway with his new service dog. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. — The medium-security Maryland Correctional Training Center near Hagerstown is becoming the fourth state prison where inmates who served in the military help train service dogs for disabled veterans.

Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Gregg Hershberger said Wednesday that the program helps incarcerated veterans pay society back. He says they also learn skills that could keep them from returning to prison.

The program began in 2012 at the nearby Maryland Correctional Institution. The maximum-security Western Correctional Institution near Cumberland the medium-security Eastern Correctional Institution near Westover were subsequently added.

The dogs arrive as puppies for 14 months of training by inmates before going on to finishing school.

Each dog is eventually teamed with a disabled veteran in a program run by America’s VetDogs of Smithtown, N.Y.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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