Prisoner Visitation and Support (PVS) is the only nationwide, interfaith visitation program with access to all federal and military prisons and prisoners in the United States. Sponsored by 35 national religious bodies and socially-concerned agencies (consisting of Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and secular organizations), PVS seeks to meet the needs of prisoners through an alternative
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.