Achieving institutional support was slow. It took time to effectively convey the intent and potential benefits of the relationship- and family-strengthening programs to administrative and facility staff.
Some correctional facility staff feared that family-strengthening services would reopen old wounds and distress participants. It was helpful to make special efforts to inform staff at the facilities about the programming and provide assurance that the approach did not include support group therapy sessions.
In the more successful partnerships, correctional staff understood that programming was a useful and constructive way for men to spend time and having men productively engaged in programming contributed to a safer, more stable facility. Some staff recognized the potential that family and fatherhood had to reduce recidivism, and having program advocates within corrections was powerful.
Some community-based grantees were starting a new relationship with correctional staff, and the learning curve was steep. However, even the corrections-sponsored programs had challenges working within the corrections environment as well, especially as state budgets have become more constrained.
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