The Family Support Program for ex-offenders (FSP) closed its doors after eight years of successful collaboration between The University of Texas School of Social Work (UTSSW) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Parole Division. Since 1991, FSP served more than 1,500 parolees and their family members. Using an undergraduate and graduate student intern unit, FSP provided counseling, case management, and ongoing support groups for ex-offenders, their families, and school based groups for children of incarcerated and paroled parents.

FSP objectives were to strengthen the relationship between recently released inmates and their families, link the family with community resources, and increase community responsiveness to the needs of parolees and their families thereby decreasing recidivism and increasing parole success. Research indicates that inmates with strong family connections and support are more likely to reintegrate successfully into the larger community. FSP social work staff and interns worked to engage family members prior to an inmate’s release and to assist both the released inmate and the family members in the difficult transition to success throughout free-world living after release.

Interns from UTSSW were FSP’s primary direct services providers, and their experiences provided a unique, hands-on field experience working with clients whose needs range from basic housing and health issues to the special needs of reuniting and healing a family impacted by criminal behavior and its consequences. Our thanks to hundreds of parole staff, community partners, and client families who made the last eight years a success.

Parole Division, Texas Department of Criminal Justice