National Evaluation of the Responsible Fatherhood, Marriage, and Family Strengthening Grants for Incarcerated and Re-Entering Fathers and Their Partners: Program Models of MFS-IP Grantees. Program Context


Type of Agency. Table 1 presents basic contextual information for each of the MFS-IP programs. Both public and private agencies have been funded under this initiative; the public agencies represent both correctional and human services agencies, and the private agencies include both community- and faith-based organizations.

Table 1.
Funded Sites and Type of Grantee Agency
Site Location Type of Grantee Agency
Centerforce San Rafael, CA Community-based nonprofit
Child and Family Services of New Hampshire (NH CFS) Manchester, NH State human services agency
Indiana Department of Correction (IN DOC) Indianapolis, IN State correctional agency
Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota (SD LSS) Sioux Falls, SD Faith-based organization
Maryland Department of Human Resources (MD DHR) Baltimore, MD State human services agency
Minnesota Council on Crime and Justice (MN CCJ) Minneapolis, MN Community-based nonprofit
New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJ DOC) Trenton, NJ State correctional agency
Oakland Livingston Human Services Association (OLHSA) Pontiac, MI Community-based nonprofit
Osborne Association Brooklyn, NY Community-based nonprofit
Texas Arms of Love, d.b.a. People of Principle (TX POP) Odessa, TX Community-based nonprofit
RIDGE Project (OH RIDGE) Defiance, OH Community-based nonprofit
Shelby County Division of Correction (SC DOC) Memphis, TN County correctional agency

Agency type may have implications for its control over corrections-based programming. For non-correctional agencies, access to programming space, programming time, recruitment contact with inmates, clearance for program staff, and available corrections data (e.g., release date, transfer plans) on the target population may be limited  all of which are potentially substantial implementation challenges. Such agencies, however, could also have an advantage over corrections-based programs in participant recruitment and retention, if inmates (and their families) are more likely to trust service providers who are independent of the criminal justice system.

Program Entry Point. A major component of the program structure is the point in the criminal justice system at which the target population enters the program. Based on this dimension, the programs can be classified into two types, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.
Point of Entry into Program

Figure 1. Point of Entry into Program. See text for explanation.

The first type, which includes eight programs, only enrolls currently incarcerated men and their partners. All of these programs enroll men while they are incarcerated and provide services during incarceration. Most continue to provide services in the community for participants who are released from incarceration.

The second type of program (four sites) has multiple entry points. These programs concurrently enroll incarcerated men, formerly incarcerated men, and men who are serving a probation term (regardless of whether they have been incarcerated) and their partners into their programs.

This distinction between enrolling only incarcerated men and enrolling both incarcerated men and men in the community introduces substantial diversity of service needs and institutional experiences in the target population.

Type of Correctional Institution. Whether the programs are jail-based or prison-based is another key component. Jail inmates have shorter sentences and are more likely to be incarcerated in the county in which the offense was committed. This distinction could have implications for the impact of the incarceration on the target population, particularly the family, given the likely influence of physical distance and time on factors such as frequency of visitation and maintenance of family support. Institution type also has implications for the delivery structure of the program, because jail-based programs have a greater need to rapidly identify eligible respondents and face limitations in the duration of pre-release services they are able to deliver. Prison-based programs, however, have to deal with frequent institutional transfers and inmates' participation in other programs (or completion of other requirements).

The distribution of the MFS-IP grantees by institutional type (Figure 2) finds one classified as an exclusively jail-based program (MD DHR), including county detention and pre-release centers. Ten are classified as exclusively prison-based programs, although one of these programs (SC DOC), is a county prison which has some characteristics of a jail. One program (OLHSA) serves both jails and prisons, in addition to a non-corrections-based residential treatment facility to which jail inmates and state prisoners with substance abuse problems are often transferred during the last 60-90 days of their sentences.

Figure 2.
Type of Correctional Institution

Figure 2. Type of Correctional Institution. See text for explanation.

Number of Institutions Served. Some grantees concentrate on a single institution; others spread resources across multiple facilities. The former approach may simplify staffing, facility access negotiations, and other logistical considerations. The latter offers a larger pool of eligible participants. As shown in Figure 3, most grantees are planning to serve more than one correctional facility  typically four or fewer facilities, with the exceptions of IN DOC (13) and RIDGE (11).

Figure 3.
Number of Institutions Served

Figure 3. Number of Institutions Served. See text for explanation.

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