Making Positive Changes in Prison

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Making Positive Changes in Prison

Tom* is about to be released from prison where he’s been serving time. He’s the father of two boys aged 8 and 3. He confessed that while his children lived with him ‘crime came first’.

To prepare for his release, Tom joined the Family Works Parenting in Prisons programme. He wanted to gain a better understanding of his children’s needs, manage his defensive feelings, cope with his anger, and learn to navigate fatherhood.

Tom initially struggled during the sessions— especially in group activities— finding the idea of play foreign. He later revealed that he never played with his father. Instead, at 6 years old, he went to work with him on the farm because that was better than suffering abuse from his step-mother.

Despite his struggles, Tom was motivated to learn how to play and to use praise and encouragement to manage his children’s behaviours. His new goals now include understanding the ages and stages of childhood development, and how trauma impacts brain development. He’s already expressed desire to register for the Incredible Years parenting programme facilitated by Family Works on his release.

*Name changed and model used to protect identity

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