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Boys Town Nevada, HOPE for Prisoners Team Up to Prepare Incarcerated Parents for Return Home

Recent graduates of a Boys Town Nevada Common Sense Parenting course proudly display their certificates of completion.

​Being separated from a parent is a traumatic experience for any child. Such separations are even tougher on a family when they are the result of a parent's incarceration in a correctional facility.

But thanks to a cooperative effort between Boys Town Nevada and the local HOPE for Prisoners program, parents who are about to be released from jail are getting the help they need to make their transition home and reunification with their kids smoother and successful.

HOPE for Prisoners, headed by CEO and founder Jon D. Ponder, offers its participants an 18-month commitment to help them navigate the many challenges they will face as they return home. At a minimum, each participant is required to complete a pre-vocational training workshop and also is invited to participate in a mentoring program, leadership training and job development services.

Another key component to success for participants is Common Sense Parenting® (CSP) classes provided through Boys Town Nevada.  

Incarcerated men and women (and their spouses) who enroll in CSP classes learn and practice skills for meeting a variety of parental challenges they may face upon being reunited with their children. These include setting appropriate boundaries, using effective discipline techniques, maintaining self-control and others.

"In the classes, some participants are initially hesitant about practicing their new skills and fear being judged by their peers," said CSP trainer Stacy Burrell. "However, they quickly experience support and encouragement from their trainer and others in the group. As a result, those who complete the six-week CSP course are better prepared to effectively use the parenting skills and strategies they learned when they return home to their children."

Many CSP participants are on probation or house arrest, or are residing in transitional living facilities. The CSP program is also offered to men who are due for release within 60 days from the Clark County Detention Center. This helps prepare them for reunification with their children and families prior to their release date.

Boys Town Nevada's Common Sense Parenting program has been working with Hope for Prisoners since 2015, and has served more than 500 individuals. Every year, Boys Town Nevada hosts six to eight CSP workshops in correctional facilities.

"Most times, it's good to step out of your comfort zone to grow for yourself, your child and others," said Clair Rogers, a CSP graduate. "Success is a daily routine – one day at a time and one skill at a time. Sometimes it's painful, but the work is worth the end result. Thank you, Boys Town!"