Hutchinson Prison Ends Service Dog Training Program

The Hutchinson Correctional Facility has ended a program that allowed inmates to train service dogs.

Prison spokesman Dirk Moss says staffing shortages prompted the decision to stop the program as of Aug. 1. The prison had one full-time officer overseeing the program and Moss said that person had to be put back into a security job.

The Wichita Eagle reports that as of early August, about 40 vacancies existed at the prison, which has 365 uniformed security officers when it is fully staffed.

Dogs that would have been sent to Hutchinson will now go to either Ellsworth Correctional Facility or an out-of-state prison.

Advocates say the decision will extend what is already a long wait for those who need service dogs.