YACOLT, Wash. (CNN/KOIN) -- Prisoners and cats are getting a second chance thanks to a special program at a Washington prison.
In a setting of barbed wire prison guards and often hardened criminal playing it tough, inmate Joey Walter says, "I see a hardness or even offenders pretending to be hard."
Prison officials at Larch Corrections Center are seeing a softer side in offenders like Joey Walter. He says, "She just doesn't like her tail touched see. She says no. I sorry, I sorry."
He and his "Cellie," as they say, are in charge of Princess Natalie around the clock. Walter says, "As soon as I found out they were going to do a cat program here I was like yes, yes I just want to get all over it."
Outside of prison, Princess Natalie was facing death row. Walter says, "With all of her behavioral problems she would most likely been euthanized and I just couldn't imagine that."
Working through a cat rescue organization called "Cuddly Catz" out of Vancouver, specially screened offenders without a violent history and good behavior have been trained by volunteers to care for the cats and work on their behavior.
The goal is to get cats like Princess Natalie ready for adoption outside of prison. Prisoner counselor Monique Camacho says, "The offenders don't get a lot of chances to do right, by the community. So it gives them an opportunity to directly impact the community and I thought that was important."
The inmates here actually keep a journal on the cat' progress; this journal is then shared with volunteers from the rescue and will help determine when cats like Clementine are ready for a new home.
As a perk, offenders in the program live two to a room instead of a dormitory. They take care of everything from feeding the cat to the litter box all in a ten by twelve room. And the supplies are donated in a program the prison plans to expand. Walter says, "It's not only going to give her a second chance it's going to give many other felines a second chance. And I think that's awesome. We all need a second chances."