Prison Rules


Prison contacts, schedules, restrictions, and security measures

  • Contact information for the prison liaison and other key prison personnel will be provided to you by NEADS. You will not have the ability to contact the inmate directly.
    • Each prison will have schedule restrictions for pickup and drop off that include:
    • Earliest/latest times for pickup or drop off
      • The DOC has approved the following pick up times: Friday 5-8pm, Saturday & Sunday 9-10:30am and 5-8pm
    • Lockdown periods – typically required for head counts, inmates may not leave their cells during lockdown: therefore, dogs cannot be picked up or dropped off.
    • Heavier than usual visitor traffic or staff shift change may mean delays in pickup or drop off.
      You will be required to present identification when entering the prison.
    • Other prison specific restrictions may apply.
  • Dress code, cell phones, electronics, smoking
    • Each prison posts a facility specific dress code for visitors on their web site, and you should review it prior to your first visit. Generally these rules apply; however, some prisons will be more restrictive:
      • Don’t wear clothing prison correctional officers deem inappropriate:
        • No low cut, see through, or any provocative clothing
        • No military or camouflage clothing, uniforms, scrubs, shorts
        • No clothing similar to that issued to an inmate or uniformed personnel
      • No bare feet
      • Children are not allowed during pickup/drop off
    • WPRs who are dressed inappropriately will not be allowed to pick up the pup.
    • Refrain from carrying anything into the prison, such as purses, etc.
    • Cell phones and other electronics, including items such as cameras, photo key chains, etc., are not allowed.
    • Smoking is not allowed on correctional facility grounds.
  • Video Surveillance
    • Assume that all areas of the facility are under video surveillance, including parking areas and any inmate contact. This surveillance is subject to review by prison and/or NEADS staff for compliance to WPR guidelines.
    • If your prison allows you face-to-face contact with the handler, there should be no physical contact at any time.
  • Puppy items, photos, news articles, gifts
    • The pup will leave the prison wearing a flat collar and leash, and a gentle leader once the pup is trained to wear it. The handler will provide a Weekend Communication Sheet and in some prisons, food for the pup. In most programs, the pups will come out wearing a cape or backpack.
    • Please examine the pockets upon pick up and drop off. (In some programs, capes and backpacks are provided to WPRs, and are not returned to the prison with the pup.)
    • Puppy Raisers are not allowed to give any items to an inmate, including but not limited to: photos, news articles, treats, toys, etc. Contact the prison liaison if you would like to make a donation.
    • Do not accept items from the handler or any other inmate.
    • You are not permitted to take gifts for the pup or inmate to the prison at any time.

Sharing information with the inmate

  • Information shared by the handler and WPR should be limited to the pup, schedules, or similar information – both in conversations and in written notes. Do not linger when picking up or dropping off the pup, keep all communication brief!
  • Appropriate information to share:
    • Issues related to the pup’s behavior as outlined on the Weekend Communication Sheet
    • Food or treats used for the pup
    • General comments on visits done with the pup, i.e., Mall, Grocery, Pharmacy, Bank, Parade, School, Dentist’s Office, Library
  • Inappropriate
    • Any personal information
    • Information regarding any other WPR or NEADS staff
    • Comments about the prison or prison staff
    • Personal questions about inmate, inmate’s family, other inmates
    • Specific notes on visits done with puppy, i.e., Stores in Liberty Plaza, Kennedy School, Springfield Library, Lakeville Pet Store
      • Any information that would allow an inmate to identify areas or locations that you or other family members are likely to frequent
  • Security of shared information
    • Assume that anything shared with the handler could intentionally or unintentionally be shared with any other inmate in the system, or with the inmate’s family or other contacts.
    • While inmates involved in the NEADS program have been carefully screened and vetted, other inmates or visitors that the handler has contact with have not.
    • Report any inappropriate inmate behavior or request to prison shift command immediately.

Expectation of privacy

  • Expect that all activity is monitored and likely recorded. Security of prison visitors, staff and inmates is a priority for correctional officers, and as such, you should have no expectation of privacy anywhere on prison grounds.
  • Inappropriate behavior while visiting the prison could lead to additional measures taken by correctional officers including but not limited to:
    • Search of belongings and/or person, including pat down or strip search
    • Revocation of WPR prison access
    • Revocation of inmate participation in program
    • Criminal action

Other potential contact

  • The NEADS program generates a great deal of interest, and you should expect to be approached by those who have relationships with persons involved in the program or with questions in general about the pup or program. These include:
    • People who see the pup during weekend visits (general public)
    • Visitors during pickup/drop off at the prison
    • Persons associated with inmates and the program, either at the prison or in public
    • Persons released from the facility and who see you while in public
    • Prison employees, clients, and other volunteers either at the prison or in public
  • You are expected to be professional and courteous as a representative of the NEADS program. Those who approach you are generally very interested, or have had some involvement in the program.
  • If a person who approaches makes you uncomfortable in any way, you can certainly use the pup as a reason for moving on quickly:
    • “I’m sorry, someone is waiting for us and we need to go now. It was nice to meet you.”
    • “I was just taking the pup home, he’s tired and I don’t want to overwork him. Thank you for your interest in the program.”
    • “I’m sorry, but the pup isn’t able to meet anyone while he’s working.”
  • If anyone approaches you and asks that you take something to the prison for them, or convey a message to an inmate, politely decline. If the person persists, or you feel that you are being threatened in any way, advise prison shift command and your PPA immediately.
  • PPA can help you develop tactics to discourage those who insist on approaching a pup that is working.

Prison activity

  • At times, you may be instructed to move to a secure area of the prison for a brief period, or asked to pick up the pup in another part of the prison. This may be due to:
    • Inmates working in or moving between prison areas
    • Unscheduled lockdown
    • Equipment failure

Pup staying in the for weekend

Occasionally the pup may unexpectedly not be allowed out for the weekend due to an unforeseen medical illness or if the prison is in a lockdown situation. You will be expected to follow the direction of correctional officers at all times to ensure the safety of yourself and others. Every effort will be made to notify you in advance if events mean that puppies will be unable to leave the prison as scheduled. We apologize for any inconvenience.