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CRESAPTOWN, Md. (AP) - Inmates at a maximum-security prison in western Maryland have joined a growing trend nationwide by training service dogs.

But all the inmates in this program are military veterans, training dogs that will eventually be used by disabled veterans.

Three inmates at Western Correctional Institution have been sharing their cells since September with puppies provided by America's VetDogs of Smithtown, N.Y.

Professional trainers say prison-raised dogs tend to succeed at higher rates because puppies thrive on consistency and rigid schedules. And that's just what they get in prison.

Only the inmates with the best behavior are allowed in the program and they can't have any history of child or animal abuse. Veteran inmates with honorable discharges are preferred for the Maryland program, but others can be considered.

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