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Does Fatherhood Training in Prison Improve Fathering Skills and Reduce Family Challenges?

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The Norwegian Correctional Service offers a program called “Fathers in Prison”, aimed at helping incarcerated fathers to have better contact with their children during their sentence and after release. On the basis of 38 semi-structured interviews with prisoners who have completed the program, we would argue that there is reason to believe that the program enhances the participants’ fathering skills. Feedback from the participants showed that “Fathers in Prison” helps fathers take greater responsibility for their children’s situation, their fathering skills improve and father–child contact is enhanced. However, the program appears to have little influence on the situation of the prisoner’s family while he is still imprisoned. There is no indication that participation by the father in the program implies better support for his children and family than they would otherwise receive. The conclusion is consequently that the program helps participants to function better as fathers both during and after imprisonment, but that it does not reduce challenges in prisoners’ families to any great extent.
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Keywords: children of prisoners; correctional services; programs; “Fathers in Prison”

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Health and Welfare Administration, Østfold University College, Halden, Norway

Publication date: April 3, 2018

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