After years of research, Vera’s Family Justice Program has implemented new programs which will contribute to easier access for family members seeking out their incarcerated loved ones. Considering youth school performance and behavior are both directly affected by family visitation, the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) partnered with the Vera’s Family Justice Program on the Families as Partners project to promote support from the family members of incarcerated juveniles.
Through research gathered February 2010 through March 2013, the Families as Partners project discovered incarcerated adults and juveniles with a strong tie to loved ones progress better in prison and pose less of a threat once they are released. This family relationship and contact is described as critical to the accomplishments of youth in juvenile justice facilities.
Despite the lasting benefits family visitation has on incarcerated juveniles and the community, families often face obstacles when visiting their loved ones. Thus, the research gathered sought to support staff-to-family encouragement on emotional and material support, scheduled visits and overall involvement in treatment and reentry plans.
One major advancement was the implementation of Vera’s Juvenile Relational Inquiry Tool which helps staff draw on youth’s family and support groups. Vera’s Juvenile Relational Inquiry Tool is used daily to encourage correspondence between youth and their families.
View the The Impact of Family Visitation on Incarcerated Youth brief on Vera's website.
Jaclyn Chelf is a Digital and Social Media Intern at Prichard Communications. She is graduating in June, 2013 from the University of Oregon where she had been studying Journalism, Public Relations and Communication studies. She loves warm weather, the outdoors and her dog.
Updated: March 21 2018