Acceptability of a Social Support Intervention, for Re-entering Prisonersedit
A relatively unexplored area of prisoner reentry programs involves, actively engaging the prisoner’s naturally occurring social support in the reentry interventions. Most reentering prisoners rely on loved ones for social support, but that support is often fragile. Interventions that strengthen the sustainability of social support are crucial to a successful reentry. This study evaluates the acceptability of a social support intervention for male prisoners with substance-use, disorders who are reentering the community. The manualized, community-based Support Matters intervention is delivered to dyads comprised of a reentering prisoner and a support partner through 10 weekly group sessions. Support Matters teaches cognitive and relational skills that reduce the likelihood of relapse to substance abuse and crime. This acceptability evaluation pilot tested Support Matters with a sample of 30 prisoner-support person dyads and 7 program facilitators to assess the recipients’ and intervention deliverers’ perceptions of the suitability and satisfaction with the program and to gather recommendations for refining Support Matters. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through semistructured assessments, individual interviews, and focus groups. Intervention deliverers and recipients indicated the model was satisfactory and appraised Support Matters as highly suitable for this audience. Recipients expressed appreciation for the skills training and the group format. Recommendations for improvements included extending the program length, expanding the content, and incorporating engagement strategies before release from prison. Findings regarding this promising intervention approach will help guide the growing number of scholars and practitioners seeking to improve reentering prisoners’ engagement with positive social supports.