The number of fathers in U.S. jails and prisons has increased four-fold since 1980. Ninety-two percent of the more than 800,000 incarcerated parents in federal and state prisons are fathers. Each year, nearly 700,000 prisoners are released from state and federal facilities, and many more are cycled through local jail facilities. As they return to their families and communities, they may face challenges in various areas, such as establishing and maintaining healthy relationships, acquiring relevant job skills, obtaining employment, locating safe and stable housing, managing child support obligations, receiving adequate health care, and understanding their voting and general citizenship rights.
Approximately 10 million children in the United States are affected by current or past parental involvement with the criminal justice system; they tend to suffer from stress, trauma, and stigmatization; and often exhibit a broad variety of behavioral, emotional, health, and educational problems that are compounded by the pain of separation. Families and caregivers are also subject to emotional, financial, and physical stress and often struggle with conflicting expectations when the parent returns.
This webinar offered tips on how fatherhood programs can work to improve outcomes for incarcerated fathers and their families and present examples of programs that are helping fathers as they return to their families and communities.
Participants will improve their knowledge and understanding of:
- The impact of incarceration on children and families.
- Barriers and challenges facing fathers as they return to the community.
- Strategies to help incarcerated fathers focus on parenting, relationship and employment skills prior to community reentry.
- Ways to respond to the needs of children and families of incarcerated fathers.
- Programs that are helping fathers as they return to the community.
- Resources for more information, including a new section of the NRFC’s Responsible Fatherhood Toolkit.
- Ann Adalist-Estrin, Director, The National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ
- Mary Weaver, Dad’s Back!, Friends Outside Los Angeles (FOLA), CA
- Tina Naidoo, Executive Director, Texas Offender Reentry Initiative, Dallas, TX
Facilitator: Eugene Schneeberg, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse