Technology links families and their incarcerated loved ones

Margaret diZerega Initiative Director, Center for Sentencing and Corrections and Unlocking Potential
Feb 23, 2010

I recently spent time in Lansing, Michigan, where I had the opportunity to meet with corrections staff, parole officers, and community-based service providers working onMichigan’s Prisoner Reentry Initiative. Our discussion focused on how the reentry initiative could incorporate a consistent focus on families and social supports through all phases of incarceration, reentry planning, and community supervision. In addition to learning about some creative work with families in Michigan, I also discovered that the corrections department now has a type of e-mail available in facilities as a way to foster communication between incarcerated individuals and their loved ones.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is using similar technology. Its Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has an online video tour of different facilities and conservation camps (also called “fire camps,” where youth become certified to engage in wild land firefighting operations). From the page linked above, scroll down to “Families Are Invited!” Designed for families, the video encourages visitation and emphasizes the role families can play as partners in supporting the success of youth under DJJ’s care.