Understanding Implementation of Reentry Programs for Fathers Who Had Been in Prison

  1. Criminal Justice Reform
  2. Incarceration
  3. Prisoner Reentry

Key Findings

  • Community-Centered Responsible Fatherhood Ex-Prisoner Reentry Pilot Projects (“Fatherhood Reentry”) are programs that provide activities to fathers who had been in prison and are designed to mitigate the impact of incarceration on the fathers and their families.
  • To help facilitate a successful reentry into society, the programs implemented a range of activities in three core areas: responsible parenting, healthy marriage, and economic stability.
  • Several common characteristics were found across successful programs, including an ability for the programs to: evolve in response to changing needs of the patients and community, establish strong partnerships between the program and key community institutions, and utilize creative thinking to make
  • The study suggested that future fatherhood reentry programs consider these common characteristics, as they are likely to increase chances of future programmatic success.


In the research report, “Final Implementation Findings from the Responsible Fatherhood Reentry Projects,” Fontaine documented the implementation of six fatherhood reentry programs designed to help stabilize fathers and their families, help move fathers toward economic self-sufficiency, and reduce recidivism. The purpose of this evaluation was to add to the field’s understanding of reentry programs for fathers who had been in prison, given the promise these programs have shown in mitigating the impact of incarceration and reentry on ex-prisoners and their families. From October 2011 through September 2015, data was gathered and analyzed from six fatherhood reentry programs. The study found several common factors amongst the programs: each evolved over time in response to participants’ needs and local contexts, implemented flexible models with different services and activities, varied in approaches to implementation, presented different advantages for serving participants and for system-level coordination, had partnerships that were central to how the programs delivered activities and services, and leveraged creative thinking to help the programs make midcourse adjustments and overcome implementation challenges. The authors recommend that future implementation of fatherhood reentry programs should consider these common characteristics found across these six programs, as the factors are likely to contribute to future programmatic success.

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