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Maintaining Family Engagement Improves Inmates’ Chances of Success

May 26, 2015

By Will Mader,

DOC Communications

(Will Mader, Digital Communications Specialist)

BELFAIR — Research shows it’s important for inmates to maintain family connections while in prison and that doing so reduces recidivism.

Most inmates in prison have children and three-quarters of women in prison are mothers, research indicates. Children of incarcerated parents are more at risk of poor school performance, drug use and mental health problems. It is hoped that staying engaged with an incarcerated parent reduces that risk.

The Washington State Department of Corrections works to help inmates maintain family ties through visitation, extended family visits, family councils and a variety of other family centered programs and services.

For example, inmates can make an audio or video recording of themselves reading a book and send it to their children.

“It helps us keep more involved with our kids. Being able to pick a couple of different books to be able to read, and read along with, I think is really helpful,” said Leslie, an inmate at Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women.

Find out more about DOC’s programs by watching this video, and by visiting our Family Support Programs page.