Fathers Behind Bars

By Austin Y. – Research Intern

Crime not only has an effect on the general public but also the families of the offender. When an offender is incarcerated for long periods of time, it is tearing that individual’s family apart. Everyone does not grow up with a complete family, some have their fathers ripped away from them while they are forced to grow up with just one parent. That parent then has to pick up the slack and is forced to pick up more jobs to make up for the lack of income leaving the children unsupervised for long periods of time. When the children are unsupervised they tend to make poor decisions to get the attention they are not getting because the their parent isn’t able to be home as much due to working multiple jobs just to get by. This perpetuates the cycle of crime, a cycle that Fathers Behind Bars hopes to break. “There are 2.7 million children with a parent in prison or jail.” That statistic is mind blowing as that is a great deal of children growing up without guidance from both parents. 92% of parents in prison are fathers, this statistic hits close to home for me. I had to grow up without a father, not because of the prison system but because he took his own life when I was young. I had to teach myself many things that he should have been here to teach me, it made growing up more difficult than it needed to be. When I read that there are millions of children who are without their fathers I can’t help but wonder why put children through this if we can avoid it? The program Fathers Behind Bars uses the NFI Inside Out Dad program for incarcerated fathers. This program has been statistically shown to improve the fathers knowledge as well as their self esteem. “Reentry initiatives that contain NFI’s fatherhood programs have been found to reduce recidivism by 37%”. These programs are proven to be successful, by bringing these families together it is reducing recidivism which contributes to breaking the cycle of crime that spans generations. By giving these fathers the tools they need to be confident and competent parents it builds them up instead of tearing them down. This is crucial if we want to bring these families together and end the cycle of crime.