by Charlene Wear Simmons, Amanda Noble, and Marcus Nieto
Corrections Today, December 2012
Helping inmates to develop stronger parenting skills contributes to their family stability and reduces the chances that their own children will commit crimes as teens and adults. Strong family relationships are also one of the best sources of motivation for inmates who want to change dysfunctional life patterns.
This article describes insights gained via an evaluation of the Positive Parenting curriculum, which is currently being used in both prisons and jails. This 30-hour program teaches parents emotional communication skills, helps them acquire skills for positive parent-child interaction, and allows them to practice these skills while being observed by a service provider. After reviewing course topics and methodology, the article reports on evaluation results. Separate findings for incarcerated mothers and fathers include data and comments on what the program participants felt were the most important accomplishments they made in the class, such as gaining confidence in their ability to be a better parent and the ability to listen to another person's point of view.
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