In The FamilySM FAQs
Opening Doors In The FamilySM is a ministry of Opening Doors of Ohio, Inc. for adult and juvenile offenders and their families. By combining family mediation with evidence-based curriculum and strategies, offenders and a supportive family member are able to strengthen family ties, improve communication and parenting skills, enrich their marriage (if applicable) and decide how best to support each other during the period of incarceration and after the offender's release from prison.
Offenders who have completed an Opening Doors® program are invited to participate. Opening Doors In The Family allows these individuals to use the skills learned from their Opening Doors experience to build stronger, healthier family relationships. After completing an Opening Doors program, interested offenders are asked to identify a supportive family member who will participate in Opening Doors In The Family along with the offender.
After an offender and his/her identified family support person have agreed to participate, the following curriculum and services are made available to them at no cost.
- Choice of an Interactive Journal® for offender and family member (will require 7th grade reading comprehension)
- Me and We relationship skill building curriculum
- Parenting Wisely curriculum
- Family mediation
There are a host of reasons why helping offenders connect in healthy ways with their family is vitally important. Some of the strongest reasons are:
- In 1999, there were about 72 million minor children in the US and 2.1% of them had at least one parent in prison (Mumola 2000). That means on any given day, about 1.5 million children had a parent in prison; 22% of these children were under the age of 5. (Petersilia When Prisoners Come Home).
- More than 25% of Ohio inmates had 1 or more children at time of arrest. At the time of intake, 11.57% of Ohio male inmates reported being married and 6.6% were separated; 12.58% reported living with domestic partner; 22.82% said they were living with a domestic partner and children. (2004 Intake Study)
- The children of incarcerated parents are 5 - 7 times more likely to become incarcerated themselves. Helping incarcerated parents be better parents can help break the generational cycle of incarceration.
- The impact of incarceration on children "may be the least understood and most consequential implication of the high reliance on incarceration in America." (Uggen, Wakefield, & Western Work and Family Perspectives On Reentry).
- A solid marriage can give a prisoner emotional support upon release, an immediate place to live, motivation to succeed, and possibly financial assistance until he gets his feet on the ground. (Petersilia)
- Every known study that has been able to directly examine the relationship between a prisoner's legitimate community ties and recidivism has found that feelings of being welcomed at home and the strengths of interpersonal ties outside prison help predict post-prison adjustment." (When Prisoners Come Home).
- "Offenders whose families accepted and supported them had a higher level of confidence and were more successful and optimistic for their future. (Nelson, Deess, and Allen 1999) "Because most inmates are already parents, assisting them in playing a more supportive and responsible parental role may help foster their own pro-social identities, regardless of whether they will ultimately gain or regain custody of their children. It may also reduce crime in the future by lessening the disadvantages experienced by their children." (Uggen, Wakefield, & Western, quoting J. Petersilia).
Opening Doors relies on private donors and grants in order to provide these services at no cost to offenders and their families.
To make a gift, contact Opening Doors of Ohio, Inc. by mail, e-mail or telephone. Opening Doors is a 501(c)3 organization which is permitted to receive tax deductible charitable contributions.