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Strengthening Families as Natural Support Systems for Offenders (From Social Work in Juvenile and Criminal Justice Settings, Third Edition, P 394-399, 2007, Albert R. Roberts and David W. Springer, eds. -- See NCJ-217866)

NCJ Number
Susan Hoffman Fishman; Albert S. Alissi
Date Published
6 pages
This chapter describes an innovative pilot program in Connecticut whose evaluation found it to be effective in addressing the special needs of offenders and their families.
The program, called Women in Crisis, is a private, nonprofit program that uses trained women volunteers to support and assist women from the Greater Hartford area whose husbands, boyfriends, or sons have been sentenced to prison for the first time. The program's evaluation found that the informal, personal, and nonprofessional relationship between the volunteer and her client was the most important factor in the client's positive adjustment to her new life. This chapter discusses the services provided by the volunteers on sentencing day, the woman's first visit to her loved one in prison, and the 6-week to 8-week adjustment period. In addition to emotional support, volunteers provide accurate information to families for their decisionmaking and access to needed services. Volunteers have also assumed advocacy roles. The program is developing services for other key points when families of offenders need help, such as shortly after an arrest, at arraignment, and during prerelease and postrelease periods. 13 references