Although Attorney-General Jeff Session warned a day earlier that passing the measure would be a grave error that risked putting the very worst criminals back into our communities, on Feb. 15 Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) pushed a sentencing reform bill (S. 1917) through his panel without amendment, on a 16-5 vote. Grassley…

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Mark S. Inch

By Christopher Zoukis Only a few months after retiring from the Army, former Major General Mark S. Inch was appointed to serve as the new Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on Aug. 1. In May, Inch retired from his position as Provost Marshal General, the Army’s top policing official, in charge of…

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Counter-Terrorism Unit Tasked with Prison Censorship The life of an incarcerated writer is anything but ordinary. While my fellow prisoners are working out on the yard, playing cards, or watching television, I am often at the desk in my cell or in the law library working on my next project. It’s long and hard work,…

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Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) is demanding answers from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on why it hasn’t acted on recommendations made last May by the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general to reduce incorrect incarceration release dates. First, a little history: Jermaine Hickman, convicted in 2007 of bank robbery, was supposed to…

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  The U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) constantly battles to keep contraband – weapons, drugs, cellphones and other items – out of its correctional facilities. The dangers of weapons are obvious, but cellphones can be equally perilous, having been used to plot escapes and the intimidation – or worse – of witnesses, or to enable…

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Image courtesy theguardian.comBy Christopher Zoukis  

No one needs convincing that prison is probably a lonely place, filled with hostile guards and dangerous inmates.  At least from the Hollywood point of view, the only comfort for most convicts is a letter from home or the occasional visit from family or friends.  Sadly, though, a new study indicates that many prisoners do not even have the solace of visitors from outside, and that the average inmate receives only two visits during their entire length of incarceration.

Prisoner Visitation’s Connection to Recidivism

Consistent with previous research, a recent study published in the journal Crime and Delinquency indicates that Florida prisoners who regularly receive visitors do better during their stay behind bars and upon re-entry into the community than those who don’t receive frequent visits.  “Visitation helps individuals maintain social ties during imprisonment, which, in turn, can improve inmate behavior and reduce recidivism,” the authors of the study wrote.  “Not being visited can result in collateral consequences and inequality in punishment.”

Those Who Receive Few to No Visits

Necessarily implied by the study’s findings is that many prisoners receive no visitors at all.  Those who are older, black, or have been incarcerated numerous time had the fewest visitors.  White, Latino, younger, and newly incarcerated inmates received the most visits.  Economic status and the length of a prisoner’s sentence did not factor into the likelihood of visitors.

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