The first paper draws from qualitative interviews that assess imprisoned mothersâ€™ perspectives on parenting, specifically calling attention to systemic racism, child welfare involvement, and restricted access to children as profoundly dehumanizing and isolating experiences. The second paper examines how communication between fathers and children during prison influence paternal involvement after release identifying differences in experiences between resident and non-resident fathers. The third paper focuses on jailed fathers by investigating how financial management skills and co-parenting influences involvement with children after release. The fourth and final paper, presents the empirical and theoretical basis for family-focused reentry interventions arguing the need to concentrate not only on incarcerated individuals, but on the entire family unit who so often provides the critical support needed to succeed in reentry.
Findings from the first paper suggest that maternal imprisonment has negative consequences for mothers and children, particularly at the intersection of criminal justice and child welfare systems, calling for reform and decarceration efforts. The second paper finds that father-child contact during incarceration (visits, calls, and letters) is associated with involvement post-release but that types of contact link differently to involvement for residential and non-residential fathers. Findings from the third paper suggest that financial management skills in transitional programs for jailed fathers may increase involvement, offering considerable intervention implications given the jail focus. Using feasibility and pilot data, the final paper demonstrates promise of an intervention that builds resources within family systems to bolster the likelihood of overall, long-term success for previously incarcerated individuals and family members, alike.
Collectively, these papers advance the social work knowledge base by examining several family and parent relationship perspectives among those involved in the criminal justice system. Incarcerated mothers and fathers who maintain ties with their children, have access to needed supports, and are given the opportunity to build skills as they transition to the community, are likely to experience better long-term outcomes. A call for interventions that attend to the whole family system is increasingly evident and aligned with the values and approach of social work practice and research efforts.