About AFOI

The mission of 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. 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.

 
 

Video overview

 
An overview of AFOI's programs and impact.

Who we serve

Last year, AFOI provided nearly 3,000 transportation visits and hundreds of video visits for individuals to Virginia’s adult and juvenile 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 IT MATTERS

Quite simply- because it is 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 has shown 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.

2016-2017 FY SERVICES OVERVIEW

TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM

  • Provided transportation on 35 weekends for over 1,200 family members to 26 Virginia Department of Corrections facility stops, providing dinners to all clients upon return.

VIDEO VISITATION PROGRAM

  • Provided 206 visits to 379 visitors from 7 visitor centers to 25 state prisons in Virginia.

MILK AND COOKIES CHILDREN’S PROGRAM

  • Provided small group support for 79 children in 4 City of Richmond elementary schools for 18 weeks during the school year, totaling over 1,400 service hours.

ONLINE APPLICATION ASSISTANCE FOR VISITATION

  • Provided telephone and in-person Virginia Department of Corrections online visitor application assistance, submitting more than 700 applications on behalf of individuals otherwise unable to access it.

RESOURCE REFERRALS AND CLIENT ASSISTANCE

  • Provided information, resources, and referrals to thousands of individuals, professionals, non-profit and government service providers.