Strategies for Building Healthy Relationship Skills Among Couples Affected by Incarceration. Approaches to Delivering Relationship Education

03/15/2012

Grantees spent considerable effort to determine how to best implement their relationship education components.  Most MFS-IP programs focused on serving currently incarcerated men and their female partners, with a few programs also enrolling a track of formerly incarcerated men.  Typically, the programs treated incarcerated men as the primary program participants, in that they were recruited into MFS-IP programs first, with services then offered to the partners they identified.  State prisons were the most common programmatic setting, although corrections-based programming was also delivered in federal prisons, a county prison, a county prerelease center, and a county correctional treatment facility.

Because they offered relationship education in regimented institutional environments, grantees faced challenges in balancing fidelity to their curricula and initial program models with extensive logistical considerations that guided the ultimate format they chose.  Some logistical considerations included securing space within the correctional facility; securing time within the schedule; securing clearance for instructional staff; and, if needed, securing partner clearance, transportation, and participation.  As described below, the grantees developed distinct strategies that reflected the circumstances of their target populations and host correctional facilities.  Adjustments to target population and service delivery setting were common, particularly as many programs worked to address early enrollment and retention difficulties.

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