Strengthening the Couple and Family Relationships of Fathers Behind Bars: The Promise and Perils of Corrections-Based Programming. Grantees changed the class structure to improve participant engagement and retention


A few grantees reported that keeping the class sizes small was critical to maintaining participant engagement because men tended to be more open in small group discussions. A former participant in one program noted that small group work was crucial to transforming attitudes toward family relationships. Within small groups, participants heard themselves and others repeatedly articulate new ways of thinking about their family relationships. They also had the chance to cultivate a social network of men who were trying to create a similar kind of new life.

Other modifications to the class structure included having facilitators of different races and/or genders to enhance classroom dynamics and foster open discussion. Tailoring the breakout activities to fit the personalities and interests of the couples also fostered more engagement in discussion groups.

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