Prison is usually a place to stay away from, but not for four kittens that broke into the Great Meadow Correctional Facility in upstate New York and have been given a home by inmates and prison staff.

The kittens somehow found their way into the depths of the prison in Fort Ann, N.Y., and were found in rough condition. But with the help of care from inmates, Great Meadow Correctional Facility employees and medical services from a local veterinary clinic, the kittens are now thriving in prison.

“I’ve got a soft heart for any sort of animal. I don’t mind helping them out a bit,” Bruce Porter, the prison’s head electrician, who is supervising the kittens’ care, told the Glen Falls Post-Star on Tuesday. When they were first found, the kittens had to be thoroughly washed to get rid of fleas.

When Porter isn’t around to care for the kittens, especially on the weekends, an inmate who has been dubbed the “cat whisperer,” steps in. Porter said the inmate speaks to the cats in Spanish and is able to get them to follow commands.

“He loves them to death,” Porter said of the “cat whisperer.”

The four kittens, all named after local correctional facilities, live on the bottom floor of the prison in the maintenance area. An inmate fashioned a cage for the cats using scrap wood and chicken wire, and the cage door is left open at night so the kittens can roam around.

Jeffrey Lindstrand, deputy superintendent of administration for Great Meadow Correctional Facility, said there have been other times stray cats have broken into the prison. They usually come from a nearby farm close to the correctional facility, he said. But the Trap, Neuter and Release Program pushed by the American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals has limited the feral cat population around the prison.

“You try and catch the cats, then you take them to a vet and have them treated and make sure everything’s OK with them and return them back to their area, with the exception of the kittens, where if you can get a suitable adoption, we then adopt them out,” Lindstrand said. “There’s no extermination of them, no getting rid of them. If one were so sick that the vet said they had to be put down, that would be done, but we haven’t run into that at all.”