Inmates work as zookeepers at Fla. jail

Supervisor says animals have had a positive effect on inmates

By C1 Staff

KEY WEST, Fla. — The Stock Island Detention Center provides inmates the opportunity to work at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm as zookeepers.

The farm is located just outside the detention center, where inmates are assigned to work at the zoo through the jail’s worker program. 

According to PBS, the zoo was created nearly 22 years ago when a deputy built a home for several ducks. After being brought up to United States Department of Agriculture codes, the zoo has acquired over 150 animals. A sloth, a lemur, rabbits, horses, and exotic snakes and lizards are some of the animals that have come to inhabit the farm.

Jeanne Selander, the zoo’s supervisor, told PBS the animals have had a positive effect on inmates. “For the most part it’s very good for them. Instead of sitting upstairs in a cell, they’re actually doing something productive and something that gives them some meaning and purpose.”

The zoo runs on a donations program and community funding.

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