Marine biologist, Jeanne Selander had never set foot in a jail when she was offered a job working at one full time, to care for a few rescue animals who lived under the county jail in the Florida Keys. She was going to say “no,” until she arrived and saw the potential for this “oddity under the jail.” Now, 10 years later, she’s not only rescued hundreds of domestic and exotic animals, but she’s providing inmates the opportunity for rehabilitation and restoration.
When I first heard Jeanne’s story, I was blown away. I think in the United States, we particularly ignore the issue of rehabilitation vs punishment in our jail and prison systems. Jeanne’s work offers a really important example of how we can bridge that gap and give non-violent inmates the opportunity to turn their lives around, do good while they’re incarcerated, and prepare for life after jail by learning lessons in compassion and care for others. I hope we get to see more programs like Jeanne’s spread across the country in the coming years.