Young boy with Down Syndrome expressing joy in mid-air

A Program of The Pathfinder Network

Parenting Inside Out (PIO) is a program of The Pathfinder Network, a 501©(3) non-profit founded to provide justice system-impacted individuals and families the tools and support they need to be safe and thrive in our communities that serve thousands of individuals and families each year. We’re on a mission to support and empower justice-involved parents with skills for effective parenting. With evidence-based programming tailored for diverse parental journeys, PIO has supported thousands of families, bridging gaps and fostering connections.







Partners and counting


Parents served


Justice-Involved Parenting: A Snapshot

Justice-involved parents are important members of our families and communities, capable of building loving and supportive relationships with their children despite the unique barriers of the criminal legal system. Over 500,000 parents of minor children are incarcerated in state prisons across the country; systems that can present challenges for maintaining relationships with people outside. Nearly half of the approximately 1.25 million people in prisons are parents of minor children. There are as many children with a parent in prison as there are adults in prison.

Impact on Children

Over 5.1 million children, or 1 in 14 minors, have a parent who is either currently incarcerated or has been in the past. From 1980 to 2000, the number of children with a father in prison or jail rose by 500%.

Impact on Family

People who are incarcerated are only a fraction of those impacted by the criminal legal system. More than 113 million adults have an immediate family member who has ever been to prison or jail.

Racial Inequalities

1 in 9 African American children (11.4%), 1 in 28 Hispanic children (3.5%), and 1 in 57 white children (1.8%) in the United States have an incarcerated parent, a clear indication of racial disparity that persists in the criminal legal system.

A Global Perspective

While the US makes up less than 5% of the global population, it houses close to 25% of the world’s incarcerated individuals. This incarceration rate is unparalleled, with the US detaining 565 out of every 100,000 residents.

Find the Right Curriculum

Let us help match our program with your needs. Our curriculum versions are tailored specifically to serve parents impacted by the criminal legal system right where they are, in a variety of correctional and community settings. During over two decades of research, development, and service delivery, the PIO team has worked with partners and system-involved parents to identify specific needs and goals from which to build PIO’s curriculum, materials, and training that ensure reliable results.


Find the Right Fit


Evidence Base

PIO is an evidence-based program, informed by extensive research and practice, and included on several evidence-based practice registries and lists.

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We offer comprehensive training, both in-person and virtually, ensuring our PIO coaches are successful in delivering the program with fidelity and impact and supporting justice-involved parents and their families.


Explore materials and resources that equip PIO coaches to guide parents in gaining knowledge and learning skills to strengthen their relationships and impact with their children.

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Parenting Inside Out (PIO) Map1

Our Impact

What We Do

PIO transforms lives, building resilience, significantly reducing recidivism, enhancing parent-child bonds, and fostering healthy relationships and connections between families. Thousands of parents have used PIO to build relationships with their children and families and to learn skills they can put into practice to be the parents they want to be and role models for their children. PIO outcomes include:

  1. Positive parent-child contact and positive parental participation
  2. Reduction in criminal thinking and behavior (nearly a 40% reduction)
  3. Lower levels of parental stress, depression, and substance use
  4. Increased knowledge and use of healthy parenting skills


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Stories of Impact

“Taking PIO made me feel human again and helped me focus on my future. Through PIO, I started writing to my children weekly. [...] Within four months of my release, I was reunited with all five of my children, two I hadn't seen in 14 years. [...] With the skills I learned in PIO, I get to parent all five. The relationships I thought were irreparable were fully restored thanks to PIO's knowledge and compassionate facilitators."

Heather Jo, Parent Participant

“Parenting Inside Out helped me rebuild my family relationships, not just relationships with my children.[...] Parenting Inside Out gave me the skills to communicate with [my mom]and also the understanding of how to be a parent. [...] With PIO I accomplished something each week. Those little successes gave me the confidence to keep going; I was willing to try something bigger. Now I am part of my children’s lives. I am their mom."

Parent Participant

Get In Touch

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Please send us a message and our friendly team will follow up with you as soon as possible.


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