Empowering Incarcerated Parents of Color and Their Families Using Community-Based Participatory Research

  • Tiffany G. TownsendEmail author
  • Katie Kramer
  • Giselle A. Hendy


Parents of color must navigate a complex system of oppression, which makes incarceration more likely, while also negotiating the challenges of parenthood and family engagement. Unfortunately, traditional scientific approaches that are often used by social scientists to work with these families frequently minimize the importance of the experiential knowledge and expertise present among members of the target population. In addition, traditional approaches rarely return the information gained from the research back to the community and often leave participants, particularly participants of color feeling further disenfranchised. This chapter presents an alternative approach to research that engages the target community at all stages of the research process. This participatory research model encourages a bidirectional flow of information in which the knowledge and benefits gained from the research are given back to the community, and the perspectives of all key stakeholders are taken into consideration throughout research development. This approach to research has been shown to increase the relevance and effectiveness of resulting intervention programs and has been used to empower populations who have been stigmatized, marginalized, and ignored.


Community-based participatory research Community engagement Community empowerment Incarcerated parents of color Families affected by incarceration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiffany G. Townsend
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katie Kramer
    • 2
  • Giselle A. Hendy
    • 3
  1. 1.Office of Ethnic Minority AffairsAmerican Psychological AssociationWashington D.C.USA
  2. 2.The Bridging GroupOaklandUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyHoward UniversityWashington, D.C.USA

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