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Addressing Criminogenic Needs: The Impact of NFI's InsideOut Dad® Program

Posted by Melissa Byers

Most Recent Fatherhood Posts

Oct 3, 2023


Have you ever heard the term “criminogenic needs?”

For many partners of National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) who work with incarcerated dads, this is a familiar term.

That’s because, in criminal justice reform and rehabilitation, it's crucial to recognize the interconnectedness between an offender's criminal behavior and their family dynamics. Incarcerated dads often grapple with a range of criminogenic needs, which contribute to their involvement in criminal activities.

For years, NFI's InsideOut Dad® program has addressed these criminogenic needs with incarcerated dads. It uses a cognitive-behavioral foundation to foster positive change in dads and their families, and in doing so, helps break the cycle of criminality.

Understanding Criminogenic Needs

Before delving into how InsideOut Dad® tackles these criminogenic needs, it's essential to understand what these needs encompass. Criminogenic needs are those factors that have been identified as contributing to an individual's likelihood of reoffending. They span various domains, but one of the most significant is the family/marital domain, which revolves around an offender's family relationships and history. These "needs indicators" include:

  • Relationships with parents and siblings
  • Absence of parents during childhood
  • History of family abuse and/or criminality
  • Marital history
  • Dependents and parenting skills
  • Involvement in child abuse

InsideOut Dad® Steps In

InsideOut Dad® doesn't just address some of these areas; it comprehensively targets them. It recognizes that an incarcerated dad's role within their family significantly impacts their likelihood of rehabilitation and successful reintegration into society. Here's how InsideOut Dad® addresses these criminogenic needs:

  1. Building Support from Family Members: InsideOut Dad® recognizes the importance of family support in incarcerated dads’ rehabilitation journey. Program activities help to reconnect dads with family members and foster a sense of connection and support, which can be instrumental in reducing recidivism.
  1. Teaching Fathering Skills: Many incarcerated dads lack essential fathering skills. InsideOut Dad® gives them the knowledge and tools they need to be better dads. This not only benefits their children but also helps dads as they develop a sense of responsibility to the well-being of their children, mother(s) of their children, and society.
  1. Reinforcing Offender Responsibility: The program strongly emphasizes incarcerated dads’ responsibility for their children. It encourages them to actively engage in their children's lives during and after incarceration. This responsibility fosters a sense of purpose and reduces the likelihood of reoffending.
  1. Addressing Family Dysfunction: Family dysfunction is often intertwined with an offender's criminal behavior. InsideOut Dad® directly addresses these issues by covering skills to help incarcerated dads navigate and heal their family relationships.

InsideOut Dad® is a shining example of how addressing criminogenic needs can lead to better rehabilitation outcomes for incarcerated dads. The program benefits dads by recognizing the significance of family dynamics in the rehabilitation process and addressing these dynamics comprehensively. It has a positive ripple effect on their families and communities.

Breaking the cycle of criminality requires a multifaceted approach that considers the root causes of criminal behavior. InsideOut Dad® is an inspiring initiative that exemplifies how investing in the family relationships of incarcerated individuals can contribute to safer communities and a brighter future for all.

Does your work with incarcerated dads address their criminogenic needs?

If not, InsideOut Dad® could form the foundation of your effort to address them.

he Benefits of Fatherhood Programs in Community-Based Organizations

Topics: children of incarcerated fathers, programs for incarcerated dads, evidence-based InsideOut Dad, Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, InsideOut Dad®

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