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Model Practices for Parents in Prisons and Jails: Reducing Barriers to Family Connections

NCJ Number
Bryce Peterson; Jocelyn Fontaine; Lindsey Cramer; Arielle Reisman; Kilary Cuthrell; Margaret Goff; Evelyn McCoy; Travis Reginal
Date Published
July 2019
85 pages
This report describes a set of practices that correctional administrators can implement to remove barriers that may prevent children from cultivating or maintaining relationships with their incarcerated parents during and immediately after incarceration.
The practices also involve children's co-parents and caregivers. By implementing the suggested practices, the authors believe correctional administrators will reduce the stress and confusion children experience when their parents are incarcerated, while also contributing to safety and security in the facility. This set of proposed practices was developed in collaboration with a subject-matter expert committee selected for this project. Examples of practices described in this document are parenting classes, family notification strategies, parent-child visiting policies, and reentry planning. The 10 chapters address the importance of and how to build partnerships in the development and implementation of family-centered corrections policies, correctional staff training and core competencies for family-centered prisons and jails, family-centered intake and assessment of inmate programs, family notification and information, classes and groups, visitor lobbies, policies and practices for family visits, parent-child communication, caregiver support, and family-focused reentry after release. A "resource indicator" within each chapter assesses whether the resources (money, space, or staff) required to implement a family-centered project are low, medium, or high. A "readiness checklist" is included at the beginning of each chapter. The checklist contains the resources or items a facility should have when implementing the practices described in the chapter.