Often families with a loved one in prison undergo isolation, prejudice and emotional trauma. In addition, there are physical needs that often become impossible to meet when a family member is incarcerated. PFI supports the inmate's family, with special focus on children and spouses.
THE IMPACT OF INCARCERATION ON THE FAMILY
Prison sentences are meant to punish those who have committed a crime; but in reality the offender’s entire family is often punished.
When a loved one is away for a long period it places stress on the family. If the offender is incarcerated in a crowded, violent, or unhealthy environment it causes further emotional trauma for those concerned about his well-being. In the majority of cases, the situation is worsened by the lack of an outside support system. Family members often experience societal isolation and prejudice.
To worsen an already bad situation, it is often the breadwinner who is imprisoned. This causes financial strain on families left at home without resources to provide for daily needs.
This stress typically contributes to a damaged marriage. Single-parent households make it difficult to generate sustainable income and causes stress to the spouse remaining at home as well as the imprisoned.
Prisoners’ children are also victims of crime. Without stability or financial security in the home, children may feel neglected and may lack the most basic needs such as food, healthcare, and education.
Studies indicate that 70 percent of children of incarcerated parents will themselves at some point become incarcerated. These children require and deserve special care while their parent is absent.
PFI Provides Care To Families
PF national ministries intervene by caring for the important needs of the inmate and his family. This comprehensive care system is crucial for the emotional and spiritual well being of the family. It is also an important step in protecting and reviving family values that contribute to reducing criminal behavior.
• In some countries children are often imprisoned with their incarcerated mother. In many of these cases, PF offers family assistance including schooling, medical care, and basic provisions.
• PF provides marriage counseling, mediation, reconciliation and basic needs to an inmate’s family to strengthen family relationships.
• PF national ministries unite with local churches and are dedicated to year-long family support, visitation, and reconciliation with the inmate and his/her family.
• PF ministries sponsor literacy programs for inmates' children and spouses.
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In-Prison and Post-Release Support
• Many national ministries host Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations within prisons, offering a chance for children to visit their parents.
• PF works closely with inmates to provide specialized courses and programmes to strengthen the inmate’s character and reaffirm his/her role in the family.
• Post-release, many national ministries run halfway homes and re-integration programmes to help inmates re-enter society with basic life and relational skills.
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One hundred PF national ministries worldwide offer the Angel Tree Christmas programme. Having started as a gift scheme at Christmas to remind children of their parents' love, many ministries now support the children and families throughout the year. PF works to strengthen families by providing a support system for the prisoner's family while the inmate is absent and a means for them to stay connected during the inmate's imprisonment.
- Under PF supervision, many prisons allow inmates’ children to spend time with their parents at the prison, receiving gifts provided by Angel Tree.
- Many national ministries operate the Back-to-School programme for the inmates’ children, which provides them with backpacks, uniforms, and other school supplies as well as help with tuition fees.
- Angel Tree arranges in-prison family reunions to support whole families.
- Angel Tree in several countries includes a program called “Angel Tree Camping.” PF volunteers provide opportunities for fellowship and support for inmates’ children that allow them to develop positive friendships with their peers in an outdoor environment.
- PF makes it possible for inmates to record books on tape for their children.
To learn more about our specific programmes, click here.