March 2, 2018
The Boston Globe
Among the factors that most influence recidivism rates among prisoners is their ability to maintain strong family ties. A review of studies found that in-person visits result in a 26 percent reduction in recidivism. The impact is higher for men: They experience a 53 percent decline. Family visits are also correlated to a higher likelihood of finding a job post-incarceration.
Yet the Mass. Department of Correction is going in the opposite direction. The agency has a new policy limiting the number of visitors inmates can have, putting an undue strain on inmates’ family relationships.
“For the lucky prisoners who get visitors, this creates tremendous sadness and anxiety from having to choose between siblings, family members, former employers, prospective employers, religious people, etc.,” said Leslie Walker, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services. This policy only feeds into the notion that “you no longer get [just] prison as punishment, but the punishment [also] continues while in prison.”