Some Yacolt prison inmates given pet cats

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VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) -- The Larch Corrections Center near Yacolt is testing how pet cats may soften the behavior of hardened criminals.

Two cats were given to inmates in two cells at the minimum-security prison.

Since the program began about two weeks ago, The Columbian reports (http://is.gd/e1FbxQ ) prison officials are seeing more compassionate behavior and improved interactions with staff.

The cats are rescue animals that otherwise probably would have been euthanized without the program.

If successful, the cats in the clink program will be expanded.

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Information from: The Columbian, http://www.columbian.com