• Paradoxical correlates of a facilitative parenting programme in prison—counter-productive intervention or first signs of responsible parenthood?

      Skar, Ane-Marthe Solheim; von Tetzchner, Stephen; Clucas, Claudine; Sherr, Lorraine; University of Oslo; University College London; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2014-04-07)
      Purpose. Parenting programmes are rarely part of prisoners’ rehabilitation, and evaluations of such programmes are lacking. Methods. The present mixed-methods study investigates the International Child Development Programme (ICDP) with 25 incarcerated fathers and a comparison group of 36 community fathers through questionnaires administered before and after parenting courses. Interviews with 20 incarcerated fathers were analysed using thematic analysis. Results. Before the course, the prison group self-reported better parenting skills and poorer psychosocial health than the comparison group. Both groups improved on parenting strategies. On several measures the comparison group improved, while the prison group revealed the same or lower scores. The incarcerated fathers described becoming more aware of their paternal role but also saw the course as emotionally challenging. Conclusions. Some of the self-reported scores of the prison participants related to parental skills and psychosocial health decreased from ‘before’ to ‘after’ ICDP sensitization, pointing to the possibility that the ICDP courses may have contributed to overcoming a ‘prisonization process’, where the prisoner identity overshadows the parental identity, by making them more aware of their parental responsibilities. Due to the emerging possibility of counter-productive influences, a randomized controlled study is needed in the future to ascertain the parenting and recidivism-related effects of this programme.