Strengthening the Couple and Family Relationships of Fathers Behind Bars: The Promise and Perils of Corrections-Based Programming. The target population was often initially reluctant to commit to relationship- and family-strengthening programming


The challenges associated with persuading reluctant fathers to participate in relationship- and family-strengthening programming were both personal and institutional.

Program staff speculated that some prospective participants did not wish to admit they had relationship problems, while others disliked the idea of someone telling them how to raise their children.

The voluntary nature of participation was a challenge to recruitment. One grantee reported that when potential participants found out that participating was not mandatory, they opted not to enroll.

The point of program entry might be one key to successful recruitment. Pretrial fathers appeared to be more motivated to get involved with fatherhood programming than their sentenced counterparts. Recruitment at prison intake was challenging because the men were often too overwhelmed to consider program enrollment. Offering secondary opportunities for incarcerated males who initially declined to participate increased enrollment.

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