Healing a Broken Family
One of the greatest challenges a family can face is when a parent is incarcerated. Overcoming the issues that existed prior to and during incarceration are often more than most families can survive. When families shatter as a result of incarceration, children pay the highest price, and statistically have a much higher chance of committing a crime themselves. The RIDGE Project has developed a unique method of reaching and healing families in this demographic, based on Ron and Catherine’s own personal experience with incarceration.
Unique Fatherhood Strategy
We begin the healing process through our 18 week Keeping FAITH (Families And Inmates Together In Harmony) programming that involves both the incarcerated father and their partner. Unlike other family programs, Keeping FAITH attacks the cultural barriers of incarceration to produce responsible, healthy fathers, families, and citizens. Where possible, we involve the children of our clients in our youth program, to prevent them from following their parent’s negative behavior, and to truly rehabilitate and heal the entire family.
Our intensive and interactive program is a fatherhood, marriage and family strengthening project, developed specifically to address the unique obstacles families face when the father/husband is incarcerated.
Statistics show that if a man can successfully re-enter his family, then he can successfully re-enter society. Effective communication is paramount in maintaining healthy relationships, and most, if not all, of our clients lack even basic skills.
We begin our training working exclusively with the fathers for ten weeks to focus on intensive character development (TYRO Dads). We teach the fathers to own responsibility for their actions, and prepare them to overcome the obstacles of their incarceration and transition back into their homes and communities successfully and permanently. Upon successful completion of this session, a father earns the title of TYRO, which means a warrior, or someone learning something new. These fathers now stand as warriors for their families; defending their children and their legacies and embracing their role as father as the highest call on their life.
We then follow-up with a four-week course (Couple Communication I) that teaches our fathers and their respective partner collaborative marriage and basic communication skills. The Ridge Project, Inc. is the only organization to offer classes in which the incarcerated father’s partner can take a class with him on a recurring basis during the incarceration.
After that initial four-week course is completed, we then bring spouses back in for a four-week advanced communication class (Couple Communication II) where we teach conflict resolution, anger management and relationship stability.
The final stage of healing involves peer leadership, where the incarcerated fathers surround themselves with others who share their goals and who are committed to holding one another accountable to their new lifestyle.
Keeping FAITH is the only program developed by a formerly incarcerated father who successfully kept his family intact through 15 years of incarceration and the only one to include regular family participation in the programs inside the gates.
(For more information on our Keeping FAITH programming, please check out our Key Components. If you are interested in becoming a certified Keeping FAITH instructor, click here: RE-ENTRY RESOURCES.)
All of our programs are thoroughly evaluated and consistently show statistically significant changes among our program participants! Among our most promising results are increases in healthy communication, stronger and healthier family relationship ties, a low 5% recidivism rate at 18 months, and increases in positive behaviors overall among program participants!
The cost to administer The Ridge Project’s Keeping Faith program is $500 per father for a year of service that keeps our prisons safer and prepares fathers to return to our neighborhoods focused on raising their children, instead of the crime rate. The Ridge Project partners with Ohio DRC, numerous Ohio prisons,* Harbor Behavioral Care & Career Connections, 2 Domestic Violence experts, numerous faith-based and community based organizations, National Hispanic Family and Youth Outreach and the Ohio Job Center to ensure our families have access to the services they need to re-build their lives on a solid foundation.
*For a current list of which institutions we are serving, please contact our office.
By serving incarcerated fathers, we activate a new breed of fathers. Fathers determined and committed to stopping the cycles of welfare dependency and incarceration that have plagued their families for generations. When fathers stay out of prison, they help keep their children out of prison. This is especially transformational to minority and traditionally under-served communities, as they constitute a higher percentage of prison populations.