FRIENDS AND FAMILY OF PRISON INMATES
FAFPI is facilitated by Elaine Voigt. In 1996, at 15 years of age, her son
was convicted and sentenced to 7 to 20 years in the Nevada Correctional system.
It became apparent, after several visits, that she was not alone. So, FAFPI was
born. Every meeting opens with “This is the safest place for you to be for the
situation you are in.
We will laugh with you, cry with you and share our lives with
you. Welcome to your extended family.” Her son came home on parole after 11
years in 2005; he is doing well, has a job and living with his girlfriend in Fernley
According to Director Skolnick, there are presently 13026 persons
incarcerated in the State of Nevada Department of Corrections. Logically, each
one of those inmates has a family they left behind.
FAFPI helps the families deal with issues of shame, abandonment,
loneliness, anger, sadness, discrimination, the loss of respect, the trauma of loosing
a love one, a sense of failure and the economic struggles. The grieving process
doesn’t end with a burial but continues with the incarceration.
Peer to peer counseling allows us to speak with those that are familiar with
the pain. We provide information and referrals to help with the problems that they
are experiencing. The empathy and understanding that peer to peer counseling
provides eases the issues just knowing that they are not alone.
If further mental
health needs are recognized by the LCSW or requested by the member, those needs
are met privately. Volunteers with the UNR School of Medicine and local
counseling offices have made these services available free of charge or on a sliding
TRANSITIONAL RE-INTEGRATION PROGRAM
The TRIP is a network of ex-felons, whom have contacted and
maintain good relations with a variety of professional people, (Vocational
Rehab, Job Connect, and a multitude of staffing agencies) that are working
and living right.
They discuss day to day issues that arise that they are not
accustomed to dealing with, sometimes it is easier to talk to someone who
has “been there done that” We have adopted, with their permission, the TAP
program (Transition Assistance Program) developed by the Navy for those
spending time overseas, as well as transitional reintegration programs from
the Change Company.
We give the released inmate a hand up not a hand out.
We help with
resources and emotional support. They hold each other accountable rather
than enable each other in the quest for continued sobriety and success in
living in this society.
By being accountable, they develop a sense of pride,
self esteem and confidence that will bring them through the changes in their
lives, as well as the opportunity to give back to the community in various
ways, such as “The Forum” where we get together as a group and speak with
youth groups that need to hear what it is like to be in prison and tagged as a
It is not a scared straight program but a reality check