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Prison officials hope that inmates who care for ducks will help them turn their backs on gang culture

“They’re quacks!” Prison bosses hope it will help them turn their backs on gang culture by letting inmates babysit therapy ducks

  • HMP Dovegate introduced the pets as a therapy tool for troubled prisoners
  • Report said the prison had “exceptional” grounds and ducks were well cared for
  • Inmates can also enjoy a service dog training program and in-cell yoga

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Inmates provide therapy ducks to help them go straight and turn their backs on gang culture.

HMP Dovegate in Staffordshire introduced the waterfowl as part of its Pet Assisted Therapy program to encourage prisoners to stop recidivism.

The four ducks, from a local shelter, aren’t the only meditative aid introduced to the Serco-run facility.

Inmates in the Category B facility can also benefit from in-cell yoga and chess, a choir, and plots to grow vegetables and flowers.

A staff member introduces the Therapy Ducks, which are part of HMP Dovegate’s Pet Assisted Therapy program

The Muscovy ducks arrived from the Freshfields Farm Animal Rescue Center in Liverpool in October 2020

The Muscovy ducks arrived from the Freshfields Farm Animal Rescue Center in Liverpool in October 2020

The Muscovy ducks arrived from the Freshfields Farm Animal Rescue Center in Liverpool in October 2020

A report from the Independent Monitoring Board said the prison had ‘exceptional’ grounds.

‘The prison has well maintained and attractive gardens, with productive vegetable and flower growing areas.’

The report adds that the grounds are “exceptional, with ponds and ducks tended by inmates.”

It concluded that the Muscovy ducks had been well cared for during the Covid lockdowns.

A source told The Mirror that the ducks had been treated as a joke.

“We thought it was a joke at first. One of the ducks has even been named Crispy. Someone must be laughing.’

Named by the children of the prison staff, the ducks are named Marvin, Albert, Fire-quacker, and Crispy.

But some think duck therapy is really “quack”.

Kevin Moore, former Chief of Detectives at Sussex Police, said: ‘Prison is a place for punishment and hopefully some rehabilitation.

“I don’t see how duck therapy is going to make things better.”

In prison, inmates can also help rehabilitate and train dogs to become service animals and pets

In prison, inmates can also help rehabilitate and train dogs to become service animals and pets

In prison, inmates can also help rehabilitate and train dogs to become service animals and pets

Wilba - the latest recruit - is named after William Wilberforce, who led the Parliamentary campaign to end Britain's slave trade

Wilba - the latest recruit - is named after William Wilberforce, who led the Parliamentary campaign to end Britain's slave trade

Wilba – the latest recruit – is named after William Wilberforce, who led the Parliamentary campaign to end Britain’s slave trade

Other dogs in the Restart Dogs program have become family and service animals after training by inmates

Other dogs in the Restart Dogs program have become family and service animals after training by inmates

Other dogs in the Restart Dogs program have become family and service animals after training by inmates

The prison recently adopted a new puppy as part of its Restart Dogs program, which sees inmates train dogs as service animals.

Wilba – the latest recruit – was named after William Wilberforce, who led the Parliamentary campaign to end Britain’s slave trade.

Andy Johnson, Serco Prison Director at HMP Dovegate, said: ‘We are delighted that this very positive IMB report highlights that we provide many animal-related activities such as the ducks in the garden and the Restart Dogs project, which provides inmates with targeted activities and help in supporting rehabilitation.’

Successful graduates of the rehabilitation program become family pets and service dogs.

Similar animal therapy programs have been conducted at HMP Swaleside in Kent, where prisoners had access to therapy goats.

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