Monday, November 28, 2016

Home for the Holidays: Supporting Preparing Incarcerated Fathers for Reentry

UPNEXT  is dedicated to transforming noncustodial fathers into active, financially supportive parents. Our services are not limited, however, only to fathers that walk into our offices. We have extended our services to include fathers incarcerated at Edgecombe and Queensboro Correctional Facilities. Incarceration inevitably decreases engagement with loved ones and frequently strains relationships between father and child(ren). By connecting with incarcerated fathers, we can prepare them for the difficult process of reintegrating into their children’s lives. 

In partnership with Edgecombe and Queensboro Correctional Facilities, UPNEXT staff facilitates a weekly transitional curriculum that encourages positive decision-making regarding family planning, parenting, and employment. The curriculum challenges negative, consequential thinking, and empowers fathers to make positive decisions in the interest of their children. The goal of these sessions is to encourage incarcerated fathers to recognize reckless thinking and decision-making by drawing connections between past actions and consequences. This is a crucial first step in helping fathers take responsibility, be accountable, and change how they think in order to make improvements in both their lives and their families’ lives.
Many fathers continue to refer to the lessons learned at through the UPNEXT curriculum even after their release. UPNEXT staff remains in contact with them, inviting them to join the 6-week program cycle or, if employed, commit to our individual work track. Several fathers have joined the program and subsequently have rehabilitated relationships with their children and other family members. One father accredited the sessions at Edgecombe as the reason for the bond he made with his son and co-parent, a task that he admitted he could not accomplish before enrolling at UPNEXT. His story, and other similar ones, inspire our work in these facilities.