The role of families

  • Families are vital partners in the reintegration and aftercare process and it is of critical importance to involve them from the very beginning of the programme, even before the release of the ex-offender.
  • Families can also be privileged interlocutors between authorities, communities and beneficiaries and could play important monitoring functions after release. In the majority of cases, the family – after the release – will take the responsibility for getting the beneficiary back into mainstream society.
  • At the same time families can be beneficiaries as well, and need support. Often the family’s routine and dynamics have likely changed while the detainee was in prison, especially if the inmate was the only breadwinner. In these cases the family can become vulnerable and financial support may be needed. Families might also be intimidated by extremist movements and some protection measures should be planned.
  • In some cases, the family can be part of the problem: family members can refuse to cooperate or hinder the programme’s impact; they could support violent extremist movements and even transfer to them the financial aid received; the inmate may be seen as a hero or on the other hand be rejected, for instance through stigmatization and embarrassment. In these cases it is even more critical to involve and engage the family in the reintegration programme as early as possible.
  • Among the different support programmes for families, religious counselling appears to be critical, in particular for women.