A significant incentive for retention was the opportunity for increased communications with and access to partners and children.
One grantee negotiated with facility staff to allow physical contact visits. Participants could hold hands and hug their partners in an open room with correctional officers present. This program incentive was possible because the grantee established relationships with several correctional officers who were invested enough in the program to help secure approval from the facility administration.
Several programs also provided various forms of support for participants to mail letters to their children. One program recognized its Super Dads those participants who attended all classes without any unexcused absences. The Super Dads became role models to new participants and provided a tangible way for the program to demonstrate respect for and acknowledge the hard work of its participants. Another grantee was exploring the possibility of providing free family photos to participants as a way of encouraging ongoing participation.
Practice makes perfect: