According to a study by researchers at the Minnesota Department of Corrections, prisoners who receive visitors were 13% less likely to commit another felony and 25% less likely to end up back in prison.
What this study portrays is that we are all humans, and humans need human interaction. This simple act makes for a more healthy society, even and especially so within the realm of prison society. And most astoundingly, data shows that the more visits a prisoner receives, the lower the chance of re-offending after release.
“I think the completion of this study gives us some tangible evidence to show that if we can increase visitation, we can give offenders more of the social support they need to succeed
Visiting a loved one in prison can be challenging for a family member. Jobs, kids, financial restrictions – all of these can be major reasons that prisoners do not receive visitors. The longer a prisoner is incarcerated, the less likely that consistent visitation will continue – and then the downward spiral of loneliness and lowered self-worth can escalate.
Visitation rights have largely been viewed as a concession given to prisoners, not a fundamental necessity. And as budget cuts continue, prison systems are suspending visitation as a cost-saving measure. What? This makes no sense!
Recently, Arizona imposed a one-time $25.00 fee for all adult visitors to inmates incarcerated in Arizona prisons. Supposedly, the fee goes to help Arizona maintain its prisons. An advocacy group called Middle Ground Prison Reform calls this fee an “unconstitutional tax.”
Denying prisoners visitation privileges is equivalent to medieval torture. Especially when the statistics show that visitation and human connection actually help reduce recidivism rates which ultimately help save taxpayers thousands of dollars!
A few states are experimenting with internet-based visitation systems giving families the ability to connect with incarcerated loved ones without the financial and social upheaval that traveling to prisons can create.
If you know someone in prison – please go visit them! Their lives will be much less lonely, will be enhanced and in the end be good for all of society