Families of inmates
The experiences of female inmates, their children, and the present caregivers of those children are examined. Any review of the problems women inmates and their children experience should include this report. Three sections are contained in this document: female prisoners—demographics, criminal histories, family histories, mental health histories, drug abuse histories, children, and concerns and recommendations from the women; caregivers of the children of female prisoners—backgrounds of the incarcerated mothers and the children, experiences of the children at the time of arrest, problems experiences by the children, contact between child and mother, and problems experienced by caregivers; and summary and recommendations.
The influence visitation has on the recidivism of visited prisoners is examined. Sections of this report include: research summary; introduction; prison visitation policies; reentry and social support; prison visitation research; methodology; results for descriptive statistics, impact of visitation on time to first felony reconviction, impact of visitation on time to first revocation, and impact of inmate-visitor relationship on time to first reconviction; conclusion; and implications for correctional policy and practice. Visitation has a significant effect on recidivism. “Any visit reduced the risk of recidivism by 13 percent for felony reconvictions and 25 percent for technical violation revocations, which reflects the fact that visitation generally had a greater impact on revocations. The findings further showed that more frequent and recent visits were associated with a decreased risk of recidivism” (p. 27).
Anyone involved with programming for incarcerated youth should read this report. It can be used to bolster ones attempt to develop family visitation programs in your agency. The positive impact of family visitation on the behavior and school performance of incarcerated youth is examined. The number of behavioral incidents decreased as visits increased. School performance for those who had frequent visits was 4.6 points higher than those youth who were not visited. “Despite the benefits of family contact for youth, families often face significant barriers when visiting incarcerated loved ones. Preliminary findings from this project revealed that distance was a significant barrier to visitation; youth who were placed far from home were less likely to receive an in-person visit while incarcerated. Because there are many factors involved when making placement decisions, facilities can benefit immensely by changing their visitation policies to encourage frequent contact between family and incarcerated youth” (p. 4).
"The need for trauma-informed juvenile justice systems to recognize and respond to trauma as it affects caregivers, to act in collaboration with all those who are involved with the child, to make resources available, to address family trauma and strengthen family resilience … makes it absolutely critical that such a system partner with families. It is only through fully embracing family engagement that a juvenile justice system can become a truly trauma-informed system. Family partnership is the means through which the necessary relationships can be built, and through which policies, practices, and agency culture can be shifted to create a trauma-informed system" (p. 2). Sections cover: what family engagement is; why family engagement is a key element in trauma-informed juvenile justice; how family engagement supports a more trauma-informed juvenile justice system and vice versa; what a trauma-informed juvenile justice system that embraces family engagement looks like; SAMSHA key principles of trauma-informed approach and related applications for family involvement in juvenile justice systems; the challenges to family engagement in juvenile justice; recommendations to address these challenges; transformational bright spots.
This report attempts to discover how the children involved in the Volunteers of America (VOA) initiative Look Up and Hope (LUH) feel while their mother has been incarcerated. It sheds a light on the experiences of this special population of children and offers a way other jurisdictions can approach helping these kids. Sections of this publication include: background and purpose—the growing family problem of incarcerated mothers, and the creation of the LUH program; key findings—children with mothers in prison frequently experience great loss (i.e., homes, friends, and emotional support systems), they usually find strength and stability from those caregivers they love especially grandmothers, and children and families depend on their VOA family coaches or case managers; and conclusions and next steps.
"Through no fault of their own, millions of children have been exposed to and affected by the criminal justice system by witnessing their parent being arrested, by seeing their parent in court, or by visiting their parent in jail or prison. Indeed, many of the thousands of adult men and women who are arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated each year leave behind minor children who must grapple with their parent’s absence for days, months, or years. Although such exposure does not always result in negative outcomes for children, the extant research does suggest that parental involvement in the criminal justice system can put children at risk of residential instability, economic strain and financial hardship, mental health problems, poor academic performance, and antisocial and delinquent behavior. Parental involvement in the system can be traumatic for children and can hinder the quality of the relationship they have with their parent … This toolkit and the strategies and experiences described herein are intended for people who are interested in developing family-focused jail programs in their own jurisdictions, such as jail practitioners and community-based organizations working with jail administrators and jail detainees" (p. 1). Sections cover: family-focused jail programs; Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill of Rights; considerations for developing a comprehensive family-focused jail program—identify goals, ensure that the process is collaborative, determine what components should be in the program (parenting classes, coached phone calls, contact visits, and others), and implement the program (program structure and sequence, eligibility, and staff training); challenges and lessons learned (have adequate and appropriate space for the various program components, strike a balance between having fun and providing a service, minimize the trauma associated with visiting a parent in jail, account for high population turnover in jails, and secure adequate, sustainable funding); and conclusion.
"This fact sheet is designed to serve as an overview of two family tools that help people visualize the connections within families and the connections families have to their community: genograms and ecomaps. This fact sheet also provides ideas for tribal probation officers about how they can incorporate family mapping tools into their work. Tribal probation officers may find that family mapping tools are useful for a number of reasons. Drawing a family map with a client can encourage them to open up and further develop a cooperative relationship with you as their probation officer. Seeing family and other connections represented visually can help probationers recognize links that may not otherwise be apparent to them. Visual tools can also be a source of pride, as probationers can chart changes to their maps, consolidate information about key contacts, and identify the supports they can access" (p. 2). A genomap is basically a family tree which shows the relationships between members in a probationer's family. An ecomap visually shows the links of resources and service providers that exist outside the family that can offer assistance to a probationer. The ways to make both of these family maps are provided.
This report expertly "reveals that the costs of incarceration run deeper than budget line items and extend far beyond the sentences served. Whether behind bars or returning home, people who have experienced incarceration are a part of families – whether chosen or blood related – to whom them contribute and by whom they are supported. Families pay both the apparent and hidden costs while their loved ones serve out sentences and for a long time after. Our research found that families struggle to afford exorbitant financial costs while also dealing with intense emotional and physical trauma when a loved one is taken away." Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; the true costs of the punitive criminal justice system—challenge of meeting basic needs (i.e., court fees and fines, challenges to building economic stability (i.e., employment, education, public benefits, and housing), challenges to maintaining relationships and family stability (i.e., costs of maintaining contact, family separation, and parent-child relationships), and challenges to health during incarceration and beyond (i.e., health impacts of incarceration); recommendations—restructure and reinvest, remove barriers, and restore opportunities; and conclusion.
The objective of this document is to detail a set of practices that correctional administrators can implement to remove barriers that inhibit children from cultivating or maintaining relationships with their incarcerated parents during and immediately after incarceration. This handbook contains ten chapters: partnership building; training and core competencies; intake and assessment; family notification and information provision; classes and groups; visitor lobbies; visiting; parent-child communication; caregiver support; family-focused reentry.