The Effects of Prison Visits From Family Members on Prisoners’ Well-Being, Prison Rule Breaking, and Recidivism: A Review of Research Since 1991
De Claire, Karen
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The effect of family visits on prisoner well-being and future behavior is an important consideration in the development of prison policy. This review systematically examines current research findings that explore the impact of prison visits from family members on three specific offender outcomes: prisoners’ well-being, rule breaking within the prison, and recidivism. The review focuses on visits by family and does not duplicate earlier reviews but rather extends them into current literature, through identification of empirical studies conducted post 1989, published since 1991. Ten studies met the stipulated inclusion criteria. All are case–control and cohort studies. The review of studies used a standardized quality assessment tool. Results show considerable variation in study quality, methods, and findings. However, studies consistently reported positive effects of prisoners receiving visits. Prison visits reduced depressive symptoms in women and adolescent prisoners. There was some evidence of reduction in rule-breaking behavior. One high-quality study suggested that visits reduced recidivism and increased survival in the community. Although there were positive outcomes associated with prison visits, it was not possible to draw strong conclusions for the outcomes of interest due to a lack of research, methodological discrepancies, and variability in outcome measures and results. The discussion considers the implications of the findings for policy, practice, and research.
Trauma, Violence & Abuse;
De Claire, K. and Dixon, L. (2015) 'The Effects of Prison Visits From Family Members on Prisoners’ Well-Being, Prison Rule Breaking, and Recidivism', Trauma, Violence & Abuse, Published Online August 31 2015 DOI:10.1177/1524838015603209
This article was published on 31 August 2015 (online), available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838015603209. Copy not available from this repository.
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