MASON COUNTY, Wash. - The Kitsap Humane Society has a new approach for stray cats: send them to prison.
Inmates at the Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women near Belfair in Mason County are rehabilitating 10 stray cats until they are ready to be adopted by the public.
The women raising the cats say the offenders benefit as well.
"It's a win-win for everybody involved," said Cydney Berthel, who is imprisoned on a theft conviction.
"We're rehabilitating the lives of these little kittens and rehabilitating our lives too," said Berthel.
She said working with the cats has been therapeutic.
It's taught the offenders how to nurture a living thing, something they didn't always do in their past lives.
"We definitely made mistakes," said Shauna Teagle, "I feel this is my little bit of payback I can do."
Teagle, who was sentenced to three years in prison for dealing drugs, said caring for the cats will help her be a better mother when she's released.
To participate in what the inmates call the "Pawsitive Prison Program," offenders must be infraction-free for the past six months.
Applicants cannot have any convictions for violent crimes towards children, vulnerable adults, or animals.