A Brief Relationship Education Pilot Intervention for Men Post Release

Published date01 June 2022
Date01 June 2022
DOI10.1177/00328855221095560
Subject MatterArticles
A Brief Relationship
Education Pilot
Intervention for Men
Post Release
Sesen Negash
1
, Patricia N. E. Roberson
2
,
Eman Tadros
3
, and Shannon Y. DeJesus
1
Abstract
Romantic relationships are often fraught with challenges for individuals post-
release. Yet, few relationships-focused services are offered during this
important and complex transitional period. Using pre- and post-test survey
data, this pilot study of 63 men living in a residential substance treatment
facility post release evaluated the impact of a 20-h individual-oriented rela-
tionship education (RE) program (Within My Reach) on attitudes toward
intimate partner violence (IPV), sexist beliefs, attitudes toward inf‌idelity,
relational eff‌icacy, and relationship decision making. Results showed a signif‌i-
cant decrease in support of IPV at pre- and post-test even after controlling
for education, number of children, and relationship status.
Keywords
post-release, relationship education, intimate partner violence, inf‌idelity,
relational eff‌icacy
1
San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA
2
University of Tennessee Knoxville, Knoxville, TN, USA
3
Governors State University, University Park, IL, USA
Corresponding Author:
Eman Tadros, Governors State University Division of Psychology & Counseling, 1 University
Parkway, University Park, IL, 60484, USA.
Email: etadros@govst.edu
Article
The Prison Journal
2022, Vol. 102(3) 347366
© 2022 SAGE Publications
Article reuse guidelines:
sagepub.com/journals-permissions
DOI: 10.1177/00328855221095560
journals.sagepub.com/home/tpj
Introduction
Each year an estimated 600,000 individuals are released from prison (Carson
& Golinelli, 2013). Those in post-release often face considerable stressors and
cumulative adversity, including supervision restrictions, employment and
housing challenges, and relational strain (Turney, 2015; Weill, 2016). The
challenges and stress associated with reentry may help explain why 44%
are rearrested within a year of being released from incarceration (Bureau of
Justice Statistics, 2018). Among those challenges and stressors include
romantic relationships (Datchi et al., 2016; Datchi & Sexton, 2013).
Studies show high rates of relationship instability, conf‌lict, and intimate
partner violence (IPV) among couples post-release (McKay et al., 2018a).
At the same time, romantic relationships are linked to reduced criminal activ-
ity and recidivism among men (Wyse et al., 2014).
Despite the nuanced and often diff‌icult dyadic interactions that exist
between romantic partners post-release (Harman et al., 2007) and the link
between romantic dyads and decreased criminal activity, few formal services
have been adopted and researched at the regional, state, or national level to
support individuals seeking romantic relationships during post-release. We
conducted the current pilot study to address this def‌icit. Specif‌ically, we
examined changes in relationship attitudes and beliefs among men in post-
release who completed twenty-hour relationship education (RE) classes.
Findings from the study aimed to inform educators and policymakers about
the importance of extending RE programs to men post-release.
Relationships During Post-Release
To date, relationships during post-release have been scarcely studied.
Literature that is available on the subject points to how employment chal-
lenges, f‌inancial strain, substance abuse, conf‌lictual familial relationships,
societal stigma, and the trauma some experience in prison make it diff‌icult
to establish and maintain healthy romantic relationships (Berg & Huebner,
2011; Geller et al., 2011; McKay et al., 2018b). Consistent with this,
Comfort and Williams (2018) found that couples are signif‌icantly less
happy with their relationships post-release than during incarceration and
that men are less likely to be in relationships post-release. In the same
study, fears of inf‌idelity, poor relational coping, and exhaustion were also
commonly experienced among couples post-release.
Romantic relationships also pose some advantages to individuals post-
release. A sizable body of literature highlights the benef‌its of quality
marital and non-marital romantic relationships on reducing criminal activity
348 The Prison Journal 102(3)

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