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National Fatherhood Initiative InsideOut Dad® Program (2008)

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national fatherhood initiative ©2008 1 insideout dad™ evaluation report INTRODUCTION The social, economic, and emotional impacts of parents who are incarcerated are clearly suffered by the children of these par- ents. The National Institute of Corrections noted that, "Parental arrest and confinement lead to stress, trauma, stigmatization, and separation problems for the children. These problems are coupled with existing troubles that include poverty, violence, parental substance abuse, high crime environments, intra-family abuse, abuse and neglect, multiple care givers, or prior sepa- rations. As a result, these children often exhibit a broad variety of behavioral, emotional, health, and educational problems that are compounded by the pain of separation" (LIS, Inc. for NIC, 2002, p.1). In addition, children of incarcerated parents are six times more likely than other children to be incarcerated at some point in their lives (Departments of Commerce, Jus- tice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill, Senate Report 106-404, 2001). These parents also feel the strain of separation from their families. There are many benefits to keeping the families intact even though a parent is incarcerated. Less strain and stress for both children and parents have been noted, and parents who are incarcerated can still be involved in their children's lives in a positive way. Parental contact can build supportive and healthy relationships that help both the parents and children especially upon the offender's reentry back into the community. How widespread is the problem of incarcerated parents with minor children? In the most recent national survey of incarcer- ated parents conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and released as a Special Report: Incarcerated Parents and Their Children (Mumola, 2000), parents held in U. S. prisons had an estimated 1,498,800 minor children in 1999. Between 1991 and 1999, which represents an eight year span, an increase of over 500,000 minors with parents in prison occurred. With the prison population continuing to increase (Harrison and Beck, 2006) and another eight year span approaching since the BJS survey on incarcerated parents, we can only surmise that we have at least another 500,000 children to add to the sta- tistics cited from the 1999 survey bringing the estimated total to 2,000,000 minor children with parents in prison. The Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents estimates there are 2.8 million minor children with incarcerated parents in prisons and jails (2006). Not much is being done in the prisons to address this widespread problem. Although more than half of the state prisoners and close to two-thirds of federal prisoners had at least one minor child, a majority of both fathers and mothers reported never having a personal visit with their children since admission (Mumola, 2000, p.5). Almost three-fourths of the fathers (and more than 50% of the mothers) were serving sentences of more than five years (Ibid. p.6). This means that many of these minor children will lose contact with their incarcerated parent for long periods of time and in some cases permanently. Many states have inadequate resources for programs that provide services to families. Moreover, the limited programs cur- rently found in prisons that address family reunification or parenting are more likely found in prisons for women rather than for men (LIS, Inc. for NIC, 2002, p.6). While these programs are essential for both parents, they are especially lacking for fathers in prison. National Fatherhood Initiative ® (NFI) designed the InsideOut Dad™ Program to address the specific needs of incarcerated fathers by bridging the gap between the inmate father and his children (NFI, 2005). The following section provides a brief overview of the InsideOut Dad TM Program. NATIONAL FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE InsideOut Dad™ Program Evaluation Report Submitted by: Linda G. Smith, Ph. D., Research Consultant, Atlanta, GA Not to be copied or cited without written permission from National Fatherhood Initiative. Dr. Smith and National Fatherhood Initiative would like to thank Denise Suttle, M.A. and Dawn Baunach, Ph.D., for assistance with data entry and data analyses.

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