Regular Family Visits The family is probably this countrys most valuable weapon in fighting crime. Prisoners who receive visitors, maintain family ties, and are released to a stable home environment are more likely to succeed in leading productive, crime-free lives. Arguably, psychosocial regression is the fate of the vast majority of the prisoners. It is unlikely anyone would escape the common lot, as, according to the researchers, the insignificant minority of the prisoners manages to control their behavior, to remain reasonable persons, and to behave socially. It is a common knowledge that, being in a prison, a prisoner feels stress, and depression. Despite the generally accepted opinion, we shouldnt forget that prisoners, at least in the vast majority of cases, acknowledge their unlawful behavior and acknowledge the fact that they outrun the boundaries of allowability. The stress they experience is aggravated by the severity of their crimes, being conductive to displaying itself in antisocial behavior. In addition, as prisoners often suffer from so-called social and civil death, the importance of regular family visits, maintaining and establishing meaningful family relationships, as well as the importance of private and regular visits with prisoners families, including sexual visitations, cannot be underestimated, as they are shown to dramatically decrease recidivism (Bowlby, 1980), to have positive psychological impact on prisoners during their incarceration, and increase the likelihood that the prisoner will succeed after release in leading productive and crime-free-life.
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It is unlikely that anyone would deny that the increased incarceration rate is one of the most pressing problems of our time. It might seem strange, but prisoners, through regular family visits become more responsible, and tend to held accountable for their behavior. Regular family visits work both for prisoners and for society, and make the prison an environment for change. The correctional institutions also support this idea. For example, Florida’s 1999 Statute 944.8031, “Inmate’s family visitation” claims that “maintaining an inmate’s family relationships through enhancing visitor services and programs and increasing the frequency and quality of the visits is an underutilized correctional resource that can improve an inmate’s behavior in the correctional facility and, upon an inmate’s release from a correctional facility, will help to reduce recidivism” (Kupers, 2000).
The improvement of the prisoners behavior in the correctional facility occurs mainly due to the immediate and sometimes long-lasting positive psychological effects. In addition, regular family visits inspire the prisoners with the desire to survive, and to have a semblance of a normal life, while the separation caused by imprisonment often becomes a major trauma both for the prisoners and for their families.
As this occurs, separation between the prisoners and their families may lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems (Children of Incarcerated Parents, 1992).
It should be also noted that the most impressive detail in all research studies concerning the effectiveness of the regular family visits for prisoners (including the spouse visits, and including sexual visitations), is that the overwhelming majority of sources confirm that “the better the quality of visitation throughout a prisoner’s incarceration, the better the effects on the prisoner, his or her post-release adjustment, the family of the prisoner and the community.” (Kupers, 2000) The researchers also provide a strong support to the fact that private and regular visitation is one of the two variables (namely, visitation and education) correlating most strongly with the future success of a prisoner in his or her post-release adjustment (Lacayo, 1994).
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The rate for those prisoners, who report to have regular and private visitation has impressively high effects on the recidivism rate. For example, the vast majority of incarceration establishments acknowledge the importance of family visitations (e.g., Oklahoma’s 1999 Statute OP-030118, “Visitation” according to which “strong family ties increase the likelihood the inmate will succeed after release, visits are encouraged.” (Kupers, 2000) In such a way, regular and private family visitation does have positive effects on prisoners. Now, as we have already mentioned, family visitation increases the likelihood that the prisoner will succeed after release in leading productive and crime-free-life. Separation tends to place the prisoner at greater risk of future incarceration by the criminal justice system. At the same time, as it is supported by numerous studies (for example, the most famous study was conducted by Holt and Miller (1972)), the prisoners who were allowed for regular visits with at least three members of their families, have shown significantly lower recidivism rate, compared with the prisoners who have no family visits throughout the time of their incarceration. At the same time, the prisoners, who had no family visits, also were more likely to re-enter prison during the first year of parole as those with three or more visitors. (Kupers, 2000) The earlier studies also support this finding, and prove that about 75% of the prisoners who maintained active family interest during their imprisonment, were successful on parole (compared with 34% of the prisoners, who had no family visits at all).
In conclusion it may be said that, despite all the controversy about the issue, the prisoners must be allowed private and regular visits with their families, as these visits are proven to improve the prisoners behavior in the correctional facility, to decrease the recidivism rates, and, the most important, to increase the likelihood that the prisoner will succeed after release in leading productive and crime-free-life. Bibliography Bowlby, J. (1980).
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Attachment and Loss. New York: Basic Books. (1992).
Children of Incarcerated Parents.
Sacramento, California: Assembly Office of Research. Kupers, T. A. (2000, October 9).
Effects of Visiting and Education on Prisoners And Family. Retrieved February 6, 2008, from Brief Literature Review re Prison Visiting: http://www.patrickcrusade.org/EFFECTS_VISITING.htm l Lacayo, R.
Lock’em up and throw away the key. Time , 51-59..