Mike Schwarz is a photojournalist based out of Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from Boston University in 2016 with a degree in journalism and international relations. He has been published by the Associated Press, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and Viewfind.
About ‘Training day’:
Training Day by American photojournalist Michael Schwarz examines the inner workings of ‘Canine Partners for Life’, non-profit enabling maximum security prisoners in Pennsylvania and Maryland to train prospective service dogs inside the prison for up to 18 months.
Michael was inspired to pursue this project because he saw an untold story of redemption. SCI Greene Maximum Security Prison is located in his hometown of Waynesburg, PA. After attempting for nearly eight months to gain access, Michael was permitted to photograph and interview inmates inside their cells, throughout training sessions, and generally throughout the facility. During this time he was also permitted to speak with volunteers, CPL trainers, and prison administrators.
The men involved in the program are serving lengthy sentences ranging from several years to life in prison. They are permitted to participate in the program based on good behavior. Each service dog is assigned to two primary trainers. The inmates keep the dog for 12-18 months inside their cell and are expected to care for the dog 24/7. This includes monitoring the dogs during work shifts, eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom.
Michael’s story examines the integral role these inmates play in the training process, and what it means to be given a second chance. Over the course of the program’s 26-year existence, it has placed over 650 service dogs in 45 states.