An Evaluation of the Family Works Program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility: An Examination of the First Phase

Kim Cattat, SUNY - University of Buffalo
Dina R. Rose, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The bond between parent and child can have a positive influence not only in the life of the child, but in the life of the parent as well. It has been suggested that both the development of parenting skills alone and the effects this may have on creating and maintaining ties between a parent and a child may be a factor in the development of a prison inmate's self as well as that inmate's recidivism rates. This paper explores the first phase of an evaluation of the Family Works program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, a men's maximum-security prison located in New York State. The Family Works program is composed of three components: a 16-week introductory parenting course, individual counseling and a Children's Center. The focus of the first phase of this evaluation was the parenting course. The course has several goals: it strives to improve family relations by teaching parenting skills; it attempts to help decrease inmate recidivism by encouraging stronger family ties between an inmate and his family; and it encourages anger reduction through the discussion of alternatives to violence in problem-solving. In the first phase of the evaluation of the Family Works program at Sing Sing, 46 men were surveyed on a variety of questions regarding their children, their prison-related conflicts, disciplinary techniques, and their reasons for wanting to be involved in Family Works. This paper will report the findings from these surveys.

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Updated 05/20/2006