Support Resources for Families of Incarcerated Individuals

Supporting families of incarcerated individuals is crucial, as these families often face unique emotional, social, and financial challenges. Various organizations and resources offer emotional support, counseling referrals, and support groups specifically designed to assist these families. Below is a guide to some of these resources:

National and International Organizations

  1. Prison Fellowship: Offers support and guidance to families of the incarcerated, including programs for children and resources for navigating the challenges of having a loved one in prison.
  2. Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM): While FAMM focuses on changing unjust sentencing laws, it also provides support and resources for families navigating the criminal justice system.
  3. Children of Inmates: Focuses on supporting children with incarcerated parents, providing services such as bonding visits, counseling, and educational resources.
  4. The National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated: Offers a directory of resources, research, and factsheets for families of the incarcerated, including a comprehensive listing of programs across the United States.
  5. The Osborne Association: Offers programs that support families of the incarcerated, including services for children, parenting programs, and relationship support.

Counseling and Mental Health Support

  1. Local Mental Health Services: Many communities offer mental health services with sliding scale fees based on income. These can be a good option for individual or family counseling.
  2. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP): If you or a family member is employed and your employer offers an EAP, these programs often provide free or low-cost counseling sessions.
  3. Online Counseling Services: Platforms like BetterHelp and Talkspace offer virtual counseling, making it easier for families with transportation or scheduling challenges to receive support.

Support Groups

  1. Local Support Groups: Many communities have support groups specifically for families of the incarcerated. These can often be found through community centers, religious organizations, or local non-profits.
  2. Online Support Groups: Websites and online forums provide spaces for families to connect, share experiences, and offer support. Examples include online forums hosted by national organizations or social media groups.
  3. Family Resource Centers: Some prisons have family resource centers that offer support groups, educational resources, and other services for families.

Educational Resources and Advocacy

  1. Legal Aid Societies: Offer legal education and support for families, helping them navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system.
  2. Advocacy Groups: Organizations focused on criminal justice reform often provide educational resources and advocacy tools for families looking to engage in systemic change.


  • Each family’s experience is unique, and finding the right type of support is crucial. It may be helpful to try different resources to see what best meets your needs.
  • Privacy and confidentiality are important. Ensure that any counseling service or support group you participate in respects these principles.
  • It’s okay to seek help. Dealing with a loved one’s incarceration is challenging, and seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Engaging with these resources can provide emotional support, practical advice, and a sense of community for families navigating the challenges of having a loved one incarcerated.

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