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Family Strengthening Project



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Family Strengthening Project

The Family Strengthening Model, created by the Council on Crime and Justice, was perhaps the first in the nation to provide resource materials and assistance, education, and family counseling to inmates and their families simultaneously, during incarceration and after release. The Project’s goals are to:



  • Intervene early with a family experiencing incarceration, increasing the likelihood that they will stay connected

  • Strengthen commitment to relationships by building effective communication, parenting skills, and conflict resolution skills

  • Improve both parents’ ability to foster healthy connections with their children upon release

  • Increase the family’s economic self-sufficiency to provide a stable base for continued growth

The Family Strengthening Model is a multi-faceted project comprised of:



  • Employment skills training opportunities for both parents

  • Financial education

  • Mentorship opportunities

  • Case advocacy and support

  • Family counseling

  • Parenting and relationship classes

Prior to the Family Strengthening Project, the Council on Crime and Justice provided parenting classes in Minnesota DOC facilities. The 10-session Families in Focus curriculum topics include:



  • Breaking the chain (of abuse)

  • Anger

  • Self-esteem

  • Discipline

  • Talking with children

  • Cooperation

  • Assertiveness

The Council on Crime and Justice also offers 10-week courses on healthy relationships to its clients, both in correctional facilities and in the community. These classes are based on the beliefs that higher levels of commitment, effective communication, and conflict-resolution without violence and hostility can lead to stronger family relationships. A stronger family can enhance success for incarcerated persons re-entering the community by offering a place of physical and emotional safety and support


The Family Strengthening Project has selected the Within My Reach curriculum for its Relationship classes. Topics covered in the Within My Reach curriculum are:

  • What is a “healthy relationship”

  • Better decisions about who to be with

  • Knowing yourself, what you want in relationships

  • Dangerous patterns in relationships

  • Communication and conflict-resolution

  • Infidelity, trust, and forgiveness

  • Commitment

  • Blended (Step) families

Contact: Pamela G. Alexander, President, alexanderp@crimeandjustice.org

Mark Haase, Vice President, Projects and Operations, haasem@crimeandjustice.org

Website: www.crimeandjustice.org






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