Lessons from the Multi-Site Family Study of Incarceration, Parenting, and Partnering

Authored by: Christine H. Lindquist , Tasseli McKay , Anupa Bir

Handbook on Moving Corrections and Sentencing Forward

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367443177
eBook ISBN: 9781003008941
Adobe ISBN:


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The Multi-site Family Study of Incarceration, Parenting, and Partnering (MFS-IP) evaluated a set of demonstration programs funded from 2006–2011 to support healthy family relationships among incarcerated and reentering fathers, their partners, and children. The study documented the implementation of all 12 programs and assessed the impact of couples-based relationship education on relationship quality, recidivism, and other outcomes in four. Site-specific impact designs (matched comparison group and wait-list) were developed to identify treatment and comparison couples, with longitudinal data collected from 1,991 men and 1,482 of their primary intimate or coparenting partners. Couples were first interviewed during the male partner's incarceration and then again at nine, 18, and (in the two largest sites) 34 months later. A mixed-methods approach assessed the impact of programming for individual men and women at specific points in time (using comparisons of weighted means at three follow-up time points), compared the overall trajectories of treatment and comparison couples (using latent growth modeling to model trajectories over the entire follow-up period), and provided a deeper understanding of the meaning of the programming to participants (using in-depth, qualitative interview data).

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