ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An innovative program is going on at the Albany County Jail where felines are living with female inmates.

The goal is to get the cats ready for adoption.

For 24 hours a day, inside a large cell, select model inmates care for a mother cat and her litter of kittens.

The jail has had success with similar program pairing model male inmates with dogs preparing them for future adoption.

Now, female inmates are getting the same opportunity, but with homeless felines.

The women must be non-violent offenders who have shown good behavior while behind bars.

The program also addresses the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society’s desperate need for foster care.

“For us, 70 percent of the animals we get are cats,” Brad Shear, of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, said. “Knowing that the Sheriff likes to work with creative programs that are helpful to the inmates and helpful to the community, we approached him.”

“Idleness is not what we want to have with our inmates,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said. “Bringing in the kittens, gives them a better chance of survival and it also teaches the inmates something productive. That’s what we really want them to be.”

“A lot of times in jail, it’s sad and depressing,” Ashley, an inmate at the jail, said. “It’s easy to get into a slump, but they pull me out of that slump. They keep it so that I know that I have a schedule and something to look forward to.”

Ashley, a former nurse, whose addiction to painkillers, led her to heroin and crime.

“I was married and had a family and everything and the drugs took over.”

She volunteered for this program.

“We are very fortunate to have them.”

The first litter of kittens arrived in June and hope to keep the program going.

NEWS10 ABC’s Anya Tucker says the cat and her kittens should be available for adoption in about a month. Sheriff Apple says one corrections officer already adopted a kitten from the previous litter.