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Family Reunification and Support Workgroup

Published on: 4/8/2013 1:47 PM
Formerly incarcerated individuals who have family support are more likely to successfully reenter society.  Family members can provide formerly incarcerated individuals with financial and emotional support when needed.
Jurisdictions building reentry services should help create bridges from jail to family support within the community.  The term “family” should not be narrowly restricted to blood relatives; it can apply to any individuals with whom the formerly incarcerated individuals have strong ties.
Jurisdictions should also address the needs of children with incarcerated parents.  Approximately 78% of the women in Elmwood reported being unwed mothers (County of Santa Clara Commission on the Status of Women, 2008).  Children of incarcerated parents have many issues; they are less likely to do well in school, more likely have behavior problems, and more likely to have substance abuse problems, and more likely to suffer from depression.  Moreover, the lack of contact with their parents can cause them to have low self-esteem (Bushfield, 2004).  All of these factors place these children at higher risk of becoming incarcerated themselves; therefore, helping the family reunify is a way to prevent future incarceration rates.
CAIS data from the Santa Clara County Probation Department show a small but important subset of probationers who experience discord at home.  Overall:

  • More than one third (37.4%) of probationers reported good relationships.
  • Nearly one third (31.1%) of probationers reported stable relationships.
  • Still fewer (27.6%) probationers reported some discord or that they have cut off relationships with their families.
  • A small percentage (3.9%) of probationers reported serious discord or domestic violence.
While young probationers and Latinos reported more family stability, women and high-risk probationers reported more family discord.  More than one third (36%) of high-risk probationers experience family discord compared with only 13% of low-risk probationers.
To promote familial support and reunification for moderate- and high-risk offenders and reduce the impact of incarceration on their children.
  1. Strengthen family relationships for offenders to help reduce risk of repeat incarceration.
  2. Enhance communication skills through hands-on training sessions in order to foster a creative atmosphere for trust.
  3. Provide tangible tools to equip families to handle everyday life events.
  4. Present parenting and childhood developmental education.
  5. Develop strategies to monitor and increase compliance of child support obligations for moderate- and high-risk offenders in Santa Clara County.

Jolene Smith, Santa Clara County First 5
Bruce Wagstaff, Social Services Agency

Meeting Schedule
Meeting #1: Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 12:00-2:00 PM
Location: First 5 Santa Clara County, 4000 Moorpark Ave., San Jose
Family Reunification Workgroup Agenda_02 06 2013.docxFamily Reunification Workgroup Agenda_02 06 2013.docx

Family Reunification Workgroup Minutes_02 06 2013.docxFamily Reunification Workgroup Minutes_02 06 2013.docx

Meeting #2: Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 3:30-5:30 PM
Location: Social Services Agency, 333 W. Julian St., San Jose
Meeting #3: Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 11:30 am- 1:30 PM
Location: First 5 Santa Clara County, 4000 Moorpark Ave., San Jose
Meeting #4: Tuesday, March 6, 2013, 12:30-2:30 PM
Location: First 5 Santa Clara County, 4000 Moorpark Ave., San Jose