Close to Home: Building on Family Support for People Leaving Jail

09/30/2011
Ryan Shanahan

Most research and programming about incarcerated people and their family support systems focus on prison settings. Because jail is substantially different from prison—most notably, time served there is usually shorter—it is not clear that policies and practices that work in prisons can be applied successfully in jails. This report describes the Family Justice Program’s Close to Home project, which implemented the Relational Inquiry Tool (RIT)—a series of questions originally designed for and tested in prisons to stimulate incarcerated people’s thinking about supportive family members as a resource—in three jails in Maryland and Wisconsin. The report also discusses the results from qualitative and quantitative research at the three facilities, aimed at gauging the attitudes of jail staff, incarcerated men and women, and family members toward the RIT.