Bringing Partners into the Picture: Family-Strenghtening Programming for Incarcerated Fathers. Challenge 1 - Recruitment: Why Would I Be Interested in This?


Some partners were not interested in participating in the offered services. Some had a general lack of interest in relationship-strengthening services while others were not willing to invest more in the relationship with the incarcerated partner.

Many women harbored skepticism about the incarcerated partner's ability to change. This was the case particularly for the partners of parole violators and men who, when given the opportunity to be released on community supervision rather than serving their full sentence, chose to serve out their full sentence.

Many partners also wondered, "If I don't have the problem, why do I need to come?"

Program Solutions
Program Solution: Women's Skepticism about Incarcerated Partners' Ability to Change

Grantee staff in New Jersey have increased partner interest by probing about relationship issues that could arise during the incarcerated partner's impending reentry and letting partners know how the program can help the couple address some of those challenges.

Program Solution: Lack of Partner Contact during the Incarceration

A key component of the Ohio grantee's program was to help renew interest in maintaining the relationship and encourage communication by subsidizing the cost of telephone calls and visits.

Program Solution: Partners More Focused on Parenting than Relationship Enhancement

Staff reported that they were more successful in recruiting partners when they emphasized the benefits of the relationship-strengthening program for the couple's children. For example, some marriage/ relationship education curricula used by the grantees emphasized communication skills intended to facilitate harmonious coparenting. Further, offering explicitly parenting-oriented components, such as parenting education or visitation support, prior to (or simultaneous with) relationship-strengthening services appeared to facilitate partner enrollment.

View full report


"rb.pdf" (pdf, 199.42Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®