- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services says it’s permanently ending an inmate dog-training program at a prison near Hagerstown after an inmate and staff member were bitten.

Spokesman Gerard Shields said in statement Wednesday that the Prison Pet program at the medium-security Maryland Correctional Training Center lacked formal approval and raised civil liability issues. It was suspended in December.

Shields says the decision does not affect a similar program that trains service dogs for disabled veterans at the same prison and three others.

It also does not affect training programs for pets or service dogs in other Maryland prisons. The agency said in December that nine prisons had such programs.

Department officials have said the so-called “restorative justice” programs have a calming effect on inmates.

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