Located within the walls of 30 California State prisons, Friends Outside’s Family Liaison Services (FLS) Specialists provide support and assistance to incarcerated individuals, act as a liaison between the incarcerated and their families, and address a variety of needs and emergencies.
Pre-Release Planning: FLS Specialists work with those incarcerated to create a release plan which addresses needs such as employment, health care, housing, education, and other community connections.
Communication with Support Systems: Research shows that strong support systems and a stable relationship with family and friends reduces the likelihood that a person will re-offend. FLS Specialists facilitate communications with family and friends to help strengthen bonds and plan for a return to the community.
Parenting Classes: Incarcerated parents and others who are in a caregiver role can learn child development, health and safety, nutrition, and techniques for parent-child communication. Participants are shown ways to provide positive guidance that encourages good behavior in place of punishment. Family relationship skills are taught and practiced in this five week course developed by Friends Outside to meet the unique needs and challenges of incarcerated caregivers. The “Positive Parenting for Incarcerated Parents” course has been evaluated and shown to achieve positive outcomes for participating caregivers.
Creative Conflict Resolution: Friends Outside follows the successful Quaker Alternatives to Violence model, utilizing Creative Conflict Resolution. This evidence-based, intensive, interactive group experience that addresses the special treatment needs of incarcerated individuals, many of whom experience anger and communication issues.
Resource and Referral: FLS Specialists refer families to social supports within their communities to cope with and manage a variety of emergencies. Staff is also in a unique position to help incarcerated individuals, who may be located in a prison a considerable distance from their families live or where they will be released. FLS Specialists can consult with their colleagues throughout the state to find correct information about reentry and other resources available in other regions.