Although the number of incarcerated parents who experience separation and divorce is not known, prisoner demand for Family Relationship Services is significant (MFRC, 2009).
As a direct response to this demand, the Midland Family Relationship Centre (MFRC) developed a pilot program that was implemented in 2008 at Acacia, a medium security men’s prison. The Family Relationships Prison Based Program sought to provide “men with information about the recent reforms to family law and its impact on post separation arrangements, Violence Restraining Orders and Family Dispute Resolution, and the long term effects of family violence and conflict on children” (MFRC, 2009).
The success of the three month pilot program attracted the interest of Transitional Managers at Hakea, Casuarina and Wooroloo (male prisons) and Bandyup (female prison). As a consequence, the Family Relationships Prison Based Program is currently administered by the MFRC within these prisons.
Now that the program is established it is important to determine if the needs of relevant stakeholders are being met. The purpose of this research project, conducted in partnership with Centrecare and the Midland Family Relationship Centre, is therefore to develop an evidence base to justify the extended provision of MFRC services and to ensure the continuous improvement of the same.
November 2010 to July 2012