The mission of Assisting Families of Inmates (AFOI) is to provide opportunities for regular, meaningful visitation, referrals to community resources, and other services that help families cope with incarceration and prepare for release and reunification. Our programs help prepare families for a successful transition when the inmate is released from prison. We are one of only a handful of such programs to provide these services in Virginia and across the United States.

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About AFOI

The mission of Assisting Families of Inmates is to provide opportunities for regular, meaningful visitation, referrals to community resources, and other services that help families cope with incarceration and prepare for release and reunification. We strive to prevent the breakdown of relationships among inmates and their families by providing regular, meaningful visitation, support, referrals and education services. Our programs help families and loved ones throughout the period of incarceration and also prepare families for a successful transition when the inmate is released from prison back into our community. Assisting Families of Inmates is one of only a handful of such programs to provide these services in Virginia and across the United States.

Our services include:

Who do we serve?

Last year (2013-2014) AFOI provided nearly 3,000 transportation visits and hundreds of video visits for individuals to Virginia’s correctional facilities. For the majority of our clients, Assisting Families of Inmates is the only means by which they can maintain regular, supportive contact with their incarcerated relatives, family members and loved ones.

Why are these services important?

Quite simply- because they are important to the families. AFOI families report that visits allow them to spend time together with their loved ones as a family discussing life events and planning for a more hopeful future. A visit for a mother and her incarcerated son relieves worry and concern. A visit for a child and his incarcerated parent encourages important parent-child bonding. A visit for a wife and her incarcerated husband strengthens a lifelong commitment. And, as equally important, we know that their visits have a positive effect on the offender’s behavior while in prison and after release back into the community. In fact, research supports the fact that inmates who receive regular visits are more likely to have a higher incidence of success after release; thereby lowering recidivism rates and increasing public safety.

The Virginia Department of Corrections has previously estimated that there are over 5,000 families affected by incarceration in the Richmond area. This number represents a significant portion of our community’s population struggling with effects of a loved one’s incarceration.

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