Relationships and Future Fatherhood Programme for Young Incarcerated Men

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Nursing and Midwifery

Abstract

Our proposed project seeks to address a range of complex issues that will help young incarcerated men develop positive, healthy relationships, and prepare for future fatherhood. The aim of the Relationships and Future Fatherhood intervention is to work with the young men to provide them with the information and skills they need that will: i) empower them to make healthier sexual and reproductive health decisions; ii) promote positive consensual relationships with partners and future partners; and iii) enable critical reflection upon the roles and responsibilities of fatherhood, and to plan future fatherhood in their lives. It is anticipated this will increase the young men's sense of responsibility and well-being, and motivate them to create and maintain for their children, a more positive childhood, in relation to fathering, than they themselves experienced.

This study is built around 3 work packages.
In Work package 1: We will use arts-based participatory methods to support and positively engage with young men from 2 prison sites (Northern Ireland & Scotland) over the life of the project. This is so the young men's expertise can also inform the intervention content and delivery. One of the unique characteristics of the programme is that it will include an interactive video drama (IVD - film), which we will make together with the young men and a professional media production company. We will all work together to develop a script and short scenarios for the film, based on what the young incarcerated men tell us in relation to their real life experiences around sex, relationship and parenting. The film will use a 'stop-and-think' strategy. That is, at various points the film will stop and articulate a question or dilemma that invites the user to imagine how they would react, and to make some decisions, if they were in a similar situation (the interactive component). We will also develop lesson plans (worksheets and activities) from the information the young men provide that will aid learning and group discussions as part of the programme. Our participatory approach ensures that the programme reflects real-life issues that resonate with the young men. This may help make the health messages real and help them think for themselves about the importance of relationships and fatherhood.

In Work Package 2: We will show the final products (IVD & Lesson Plans) to the young men and to prison and Barnardo's staff (delivery partners) in each site. We will interview them to gain their feedback on the programme to ensure it is fit-for-purpose and suitable to deliver in the two prison sites. The research team, in collaboration with the expert stakeholders group that includes representation from the Prison Services, Departments of Justice & Health, and other advocates for prisoner health and rehabilitation, will further develop the longer term sustainability of the intervention. We will then go back to the young men, prison and Barnardo's staff to check if they are happy with the intervention and assess (against progression rules) that the program is now feasible to progress to a pilot trial. The results of our inquiries will establish if the intervention is relevant, acceptable and implementable in the prison context.

In Work Package 3: We will prepare for the next stage evaluation of this programme, by working through details, with trial methodology and prison experts, on how best to assess the effectiveness of the intervention. Together, we will develop a Logic Model and appropriate Research Design to take our intervention forward for effectiveness testing. So, at the end of this study we will have developed an innovative programme for a marginalised group of young men in society which will be ready to test in a feasibility and pilot trial in 2 UK prison sites.

Technical Summary

Young incarcerated men (YIM) are a marginalised group with profound health problems and socioeconomic disadvantage (1,2). One in four are fathers (3-5), many of whom may become estranged from their children when imprisoned. Paternal incarceration is a recognised risk factor for intergenerational continuity of offending behaviour and lack of opportunity (6-8). Our proposed intervention is aimed at those who are not yet fathers but may become fathers on leaving prison. This is timely given the UK government's policy shift to reform prisons as sites of rehabilitation and the need for targeted interventions to address this (9-13). The key to young men's rehabilitation is to develop their relationships and parenting skills by helping them understand the importance of fatherhood, and the difference 'good fathering' can make to their future children (14,15).

Using participatory methods we will co-produce an evidence-based, user-informed intervention with the YIM. This will include an original interactive video drama and lesson plans, informed through data gathered from them which brings to life realistic scenarios about sexual and mental health, relationships and fatherhood. We seek to improve their sexual and mental health and competence to parent through reflecting on the roles, responsibilities, challenges and consequences. The YIM will gain a better understanding of how their choices impact on their wellbeing and that of their partners and children.

In conclusion, we will create a unique intervention, made with YIM for YIM, which addresses gaps in their understanding around sex, relationships and parenting. Our team are experts in relationships, sexuality and parenting education, and delivering public health interventions within prisons. In partnership with stakeholders from prisons, probation services and senior policy makers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, we will also test and develop methods for a feasibility trial to assess and evaluate the intervention

Planned Impact

We first describe our two short-term impact aims and how we seek to achieve them.

AIM 1: Empower young incarcerated men to reflect on their lives and the choices they make by focusing on the importance of relationships and future fatherhood and to empower them to have an input into an intervention that will be potentially affecting their peers.

We will achieve this impact by working in partnership with young incarcerated men to create the Relationships and Future Fatherhood Programme. The project begins by the research team conducting workshops with the young men in two prison sites, one in each jurisdiction, Hydebank (NI) and HMP Polmont (Scotland) - work package 1. This will facilitate knowledge exchange from the outset and will help ensure that the intervention is meaningful and tailored to meet the needs of the target population.

We will be engaging in this co-production of the Relationships and Future Fatherhood intervention by facilitating young incarcerated men's contribution in terms of:
i) Helping to build the content of the programme, based on the challenges and their hopes of future fatherhood in their lives.
ii) Highlighting key priorities, messages and information that needs to be shared.
iii) Advising on design of the programme and medium of communication to engage with the target population.
iv) Informing the research team on how we speak about their lives and what works best to improve their lives in our communications to policy makers (for example in our two-minute video about the project).

Our prior work to date working with young men in prisons, exploring these issues in their lives and in co-producing resources (Pilot Study of If I were Jack & Burdett funded study exploring sexual health needs with young men in prison - see Case for Support, Section 4) suggests that this engagement with young incarcerated men, together with sharing back the results with them, is very positively received. For example, some young men have posted their paper certificates of completing 'If I were Jack' on their cell walls. See our youth-friendly report to deliver back to young men in prison on how they contributed (https://goo.gl/Bom0Bd).

We will also work in partnership with our delivery partners, Barnardo's and prison staff who are members of the Stakeholders group and will contribute to the research. This ensures we produce an intervention that is deliverable and sustainable, and importantly, one that they feel they have ownership of and may choose to deliver to young men as part of their professional daily services in the future.


AIM 2: Policy makers will rely on our evidence on the importance of relationships and building capacity for future fatherhood in the rehabilitation of young offenders.

We have a clear communication plan to engage with policy makers from the outset as we develop the programme in the following ways:
i) Inclusion of key policy makers on our Stakeholders Group that will meet 3 times by SKYPE over the course of the project.
ii) Seminars in Parliament -We will deliver seminars to the NI Assembly Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series and the Scottish Parliament Universities Knowledge Exchange Network towards the end of the project.
iii) Bring policy makers into the prisons: Invite policy makers to a 'Future Fathers' Father's Day event in each prison at the end of project.
iv) One page summaries: Produce two, 1-page summaries to distribute to broader networks of policy makers not on our stakeholders group one at the start of the project and one at the end of the project, along with a 2 minute information video at end of project.
v) Accessible digital media: We will produce a dedicated website, social media engagement and an article in The Conversation.

Longer Term Impact
Our longer term goals are to positively impact on the lives of men and their families through delivery and evaluation of this programme in co-operation with our delivery partners Barnardo's.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description "6 Nations" Relationship and Sexuality Education Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact In October 2019, we organised and hosted the first "6 Nations" Relationship and Sexuality Education Symposium.
Facilitated by Jack Trial Stakeholder members, this event brought together senior policy makers in the departments of education and health and significant NGOs, from the four nations of the UK [England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland], along with the Republic of Ireland and Uruguay to learn and disseminate information about RSE practice in each nation. The delegates were also joined by experts from the World Health Organisation and Rutgers International. The event stimulated great enthusiasm among attendees providing a unique opportunity for policy makers for collective learning and international collaboration.
Feedback from the delegates and presentations from the symposium can be viewed here: https://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/if-i-were-jack/6NationsRSESymposium/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/if-i-were-jack/6NationsRSESymposium/
 
Description 12th World Congress on Adolescent Health: Meeting the Challenge of Global Change Presentation Submission 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Showcase the methodology and results of If I Were a Dad research programme to an audience of researchers, practitioners and policy makers. This presentation aims to promote awareness of the issues surrounding relationship and sexuality education for young men in prisons to a broader audience interested in promoting adolescent health. It hoped that this presentation provides and opportunity to stimulate discussion and advocacy about supporting this disadvantaged group (Young incarcerated men), and highlight transferable lessons learned from this research to the development of health promotion with other groups.

TBD- Expected: Increased advocacy for supporting young incarcerated men with regards to relationship and sexuality education and fatherhood. Inform researchers and practitioners about programme development with adolescents and young people in prison.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description If I Were a Dad Formal Stakeholders Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact Meeting intended to share results of the completed project with key stakeholders and supporters of the programme (stakeholder organisations and delivery partners). Opportunity to reflect on the research with those directly involved and to share findings with interested parties not directly involved.

TBD- Expected: Consolidation of study findings with stakeholders. Generating ideas for continuing research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description If I Were a Dad feature: Advancing Learning and Innovation on Gender Norms (ALiGN) Platform 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The If I Were a Dad project has been featured by the Advancing Learning and Innovation on Gender Norms (ALiGN) Platform. ALiGN creates an online platform to create a global community of researchers and shares resources related to the promotion of gender equality. The goal of this is to share the best available knowledge and practice guidance to tackle harmful gender norms across contexts internationally.
The resources for If I Were a Dad is featured under the Sexual Health and Masculinities sub-sections contributing to the body of evidence available in these areas for implementers, researchers, and policy makers globally.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.alignplatform.org/resources/if-i-were-dad-relationships-and-future-fatherhood-young-inca...
 
Description Launch: RELATIONSHIPS AND FUTURE FATHERHOOD FOR YOUNG INCARCERATED MEN 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Launch of research project at parliament buildings, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/cesi/News/RelationshipsandFutureFatherhoodforYoungIncarcerate...
 
Description Meeting with Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) Crisis Pregnancy Programme to exchange on the team's sexual and reproductive health research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Sharing research findings with Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) Crisis Pregnancy Programme
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Poster Presentation: If I Were a Dad: A Relationship and Sexual Education Intervention for Young Incarcerated Men 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Robinson presented a poster entitled: If I Were a Dad: A Relationship and Sexual Education Intervention for Young Incarcerated Men at the Queen's University Belfast School of Nursing and Midwifery Research Showcase
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presentation at MENENGAGE Global Conference to a panel on 'Gender-Transformative Relationship and Sexuality Education' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The aim of this event was to share global innovations in gender-transformative relationship and sexuality education with programmers (practitioners) and researchers and policy influencers (especially the World Health Organisation and Rutgers International) who also participated as invited experts on panel
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Szt2YWVZDG4&feature=youtu.be
 
Description Presentation to Promundo (Global leading organisation in engaging men and boys in promoting gender equality and preventing violence) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The aim of this presentation was to share the intervention and design processes that led ot the intervention in order to consider the possibility of developing cultural adaptations in other countries
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2020