The Effects of Prison Visitation on Offender Recidivism, MN DOC, 2011
Download original document:
This text is machine-read, and may contain errors. Check the original document to verify accuracy.
THE EFFECTS OF PRISON VISITATION ON OFFENDER RECIDIVISM 1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 200 St. Paul, Minnesota 55108-5219 651/361-7200 TTY 800/627-3529 www.doc.state.mn.us November 2011 This information will be made available in alternative format upon request. Printed on recycled paper with at least 10 percent post-consumer waste Table of Contents Research Summary .......................................................................................................... iii Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 1 Present Study ................................................................................................................................ 2 Prison Visitation Policies .................................................................................................. 2 Prison Visitation Policies in Minnesota........................................................................................ 4 Reentry and Social Support ............................................................................................. 5 Prison Visitation Research ............................................................................................... 7 Recent Studies .............................................................................................................................. 8 Data and Methodology ................................................................................................... 10 Measures ..................................................................................................................................... 10 Dependent Variable ................................................................................................................ 10 Visitation Measures ................................................................................................................ 11 Inmate-Visitor Relationship ................................................................................................... 13 Independent Variables ............................................................................................................ 13 Analysis ...................................................................................................................................... 16 Results .............................................................................................................................. 17 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................... 27 Implications for Correctional Policy and Practice ...................................................................... 29 References ........................................................................................................................ 33 i Tables Table 1. Descriptive Statistics........................................................................................... 19 Table 2. Cox Regression Models: Impact of Visitation on Time to First Felony Reconviction ..................................................................................................................... 20 Table 3. Cox Regression Models: Impact of Visitation on Time to First Revocation...... 22 Table 4. Cox Regression Models: Inmate-Visitor Relationship on Time to First Reconviction ..................................................................................................................... 23 Table 5. Cox Regression Models: Inmate-Visitor Relationship on Time to First Revocation ........................................................................................................................ 24 Table 6. Effects of Inmate-Visitor Relationship on Recidivism Controlling for Number of Individual Visitors ............................................................................................................ 26 ii Research Summary Following recent studies in Florida (Bales and Mears, 2008) and Canada (Derkzen, Gobeil, and Gileno, 2009), this study examines the effects of prison visitation on recidivism among 16,420 offenders released from Minnesota prisons between 2003 and 2007. Using multiple measures of visitation (any visit, total number of visits, visits per month, timing of visits, and number of individual visitors) and recidivism (new offense conviction and technical violation revocation), the study found that visitation significantly decreased the risk of recidivism, a result that was robust across all of the Cox regression models that were estimated. The results also showed that visits from siblings, in-laws, fathers, and clergy were the most beneficial in reducing the risk of recidivism, whereas visits from ex-spouses significantly increased the risk. The findings suggest that revising prison visitation policies to make them more “visitor friendly” could yield public safety benefits by helping offenders establish a continuum of social support from prison to the community. It is anticipated, however, that revising existing policies would not likely increase visitation to a significant extent among unvisited inmates, who comprised nearly 40 percent of the sample. Accordingly, it is suggested that correctional systems consider allocating greater resources to increase visitation among inmates with little or no social support. iii Introduction As the number of individuals housed in state and federal prisons quadrupled over the past 30 years, so did the number of individuals returning to communities from prisons (Sabol, West, and Cooper, 2009). Newly released offenders are often unprepared for life outside (Irwin and Austin, 1994). Returning prisoners face a number of obstacles to successful reintegration, including unemployment, debt, homelessness, substance abuse, and family conflict (Travis, Solomon, and Waul, 2001; Visher, La Vigne, and Travis, 2004). Saddled with large budget deficits in the wake of the recent financial crisis, many states are realizing the high cost of housing record numbers of prisoners (Pew Center on the States, 2008). Reducing prison populations, and thereby reducing corrections spending, has become a central concern for many states. Indeed, given that research has shown that roughly two-thirds of prisoners will be rearrested within three years of release (Hughes and Wilson 2003; Langan and Levin, 2002), successfully reintegrating former prisoners is crucial to reducing recidivism and prison populations (Irwin and Austin, 1994). Findings from recent research have underscored the importance of social support in helping offenders desist from crime and, more narrowly, recidivism (Duwe, 2011; Shinkfield and Graffam, 2009). While offenders are in prison, visits from family and friends offer a means of establishing, maintaining, or enhancing social support networks. Strengthening social bonds for incarcerated offenders may be important not only because it can help prevent them from assuming a criminal identify (Clark, 2001; Rocque, Bierie, and MacKenzie, 2010), but also because many released prisoners rely on family and friends for employment opportunities, financial assistance, and housing (Berg and Huebner, 2010; Visher et al., 2004). The results from recent studies on prisoners in Florida (Bales and Mears, 2008) and 1 Canada (Derkzen, Gobeil, and Gileno, 2009) suggest that both the presence and frequency of prison visits during the last year of confinement were associated with reduced recidivism. Present Study In this study, the relationship between prison visitation and recidivism is examined among 16,420 offenders released from Minnesota prisons between 2003 and 2007. Rather than focusing on the impact of visitation during the last year of imprisonment, this study extends research on prison visitation and recidivism by using multiple measures of visitation over the entire confinement period to assess the effects of the number, timing, and type of visits (e.g., friend, sibling, mentor, etc.) on reoffending. It also examines whether the size of an offender’s social support network, as reflected by the number of individual visitors, is associated with recidivism. Further, given that offenders in the sample were tracked through June 2010, a relatively lengthy follow-up period (an average of nearly five years) is used for recidivism, which was measured two different ways. In the ensuing section, common prison visitation policies that often inhibit visits from family, friends, and others are discussed. Next, the study reviews the literature pertaining to prisoner reentry, social support, and prison visitation. Following a description of the data and methods used in this study, the findings from the statistical analyses are presented. The study concludes by discussing the implications of the findings for correctional policy and practice. Prison Visitation Policies As prison sentences have increased, offenders have had an increasingly difficult time maintaining social support networks (Lynch and Sabol, 2001). Mailed letters are slow, and phone calls are prohibitively expensive (La Vigne et al, 2005). Visits from family and friends 2 may be a prisoner’s best option for maintaining social support networks, but they are often limited. Families of prisoners have a difficult time visiting inmates for three major reasons. First, although a majority of prison inmates are from urban areas, most major prisons are located in rural areas far from the city center (Austin and Hardyman, 2004; Coughenour, 1995; Holt and Miller, 1972). For example, 30 percent of Florida state prison inmates are from the Miami-Dade County area, but only 5 percent of all Florida inmates are housed in Dade County (Austin and Hardyman, 2004). Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed that more than half of prisoners with children live more than 100 miles from where they lived before prison, and 10 percent lived more than 500 miles away (Schirmer, Nellis, and Mauer, 2009). Given that many prisoners come from poverty, their families cannot typically afford the costs associated with visiting prisons so far away (Christian, 2005). The second impediment to prison visitation are the administrative policies of prisons (Austin and Hardyman, 2004). Few prison visitation programs are designed to encourage visits. Rather, most visitation programs are subordinate to safety and security procedures. Many prisons perform background checks on potential visitors and bar anyone with a criminal background. The state of Arizona has begun charging visitors for background checks, adding to the financial burdens of visiting families (Goode, 2011). Also, visitation hours are usually limited to a few hours and only on certain days of the week. The Supreme Court has affirmed the rights of prison administrators to limit visitation programs for the sake of facility security and safety (Farrell, 2004). The last major barrier to visitation involves the nature of many visitation programs and the uncomfortable settings. Generally speaking, prisons are not designed for the comfort 3 of prisoners or visitors (Austin and Hardyman, 2004). The families of inmates often travel long distances to prisons, only to wait in line for hours in rooms that sometimes have no bathrooms or vending machines, and poor circulation (Sturges, 2002). After waiting for hours, visitors usually meet with inmates in large multi-purpose rooms, where they are closely watched and allowed little physical contact. Prison Visitation Policies in Minnesota Unlike several other states, most Minnesota state correctional facilities are within 100 miles of the most populous area in the state, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Of the prisoners incarcerated on July 1, 2011, about 40 percent were committed from either Hennepin or Ramsey counties, where Minneapolis and St. Paul are located, respectively (Minnesota Department of Corrections, 2011). Although visitation policies vary across facilities, the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MnDOC) has general rules that apply to all state prisons. Visits, for example, cannot last longer than two hours, and prisoners receive a maximum number of visiting hours each month. The monthly number of visiting hours inmates may receive, however, depends on the security level of the facility. Offenders in the most secure facilities may receive up to 16 hours of visits per month, while those in facilities with lower security levels may receive up to 36 hours. Much like other state prison systems, Minnesota has some visitation policies that may inhibit visits from family, friends, and pro-social others. For example, offenders are primarily responsible for conveying visitation rules and visitor application materials to potential visitors. If a visitation application is denied, it is the prisoner’s responsibility to relay that information to the would-be visitor. Passing this information along may be difficult for prisoners given their limited communication privileges in the facilities. Also, with the 4 exception of immediate family members, visitors are not permitted to be on more than one current state inmate’s visitor list. Thus, volunteers, such as mentors, are not allowed to visit multiple inmates during the same general timeframe. Reentry and Social Support The prison boom of the past three decades has resulted in a record number of former inmates attempting to reintegrate back into communities (Hughes and Wilson, 2003; Visher and Travis, 2003). The capacity of state and federal corrections systems to manage prisoner reentry has not kept pace with the increasing number of returning prisoners (Lynch and Sabol, 2001; Petersilia, 2003). Supervision agents, who are often overwhelmed with large caseloads, must focus exclusively on supervision and are unable to assist with the reentry process (Petersilia, 1999). Communities are reluctant to accept convicted felons, and released prisoners are not eligible for many forms of public assistance (Travis et al., 2001). Social bonds and social support are common elements in many criminological theories, both as a key to crime prevention and a mechanism for desistance from crime. According to Hirschi’s (1969) social control theory, an individual’s attachment, or bond, to a conventional lifestyle prevents him or her from offending. Sensitivity towards family members and other close contacts is a large component of this bond. Longer and more frequent visits with family while in prison could strengthen a prisoner’s attachment (LaVigne et al., 2005). Proponents of general strain theory would argue that family bonds and social support would ease the stresses related to reentry, making the prisoners less likely to engage in subsequent criminal behavior (Agnew, 1992). Life-course theorists view the release from prison as a potential turning point in the lives of offenders (Sampson and Laub, 1993). An 5 offender’s attachment to family members could give him or her both the opportunity and incentive to desist from crime (Horney, Osgood, and Marshall, 1995). In fact, research has demonstrated that family and friends are a returning prisoner’s most valuable source of support. Anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of newly released offenders rely on their families immediately after release (Berg and Huebner, 2010; Nelson, Deess, and Allen, 1999; Visher et al., 2004). Family and friends are capable of helping returning prisoners overcome reentry obstacles, including unemployment, debt, and homelessness. Because many offenders lack education, vocational skills, and a steady history of employment (Berstein and Houston, 2000; Petersilia, 2003; Visher et al. 2004; Western, Kling, and Weiman, 2001), obtaining employment represents one of the largest obstacles encountered by returning prisoners (Brees, Ra’el, and Grant, 2000; Rocque et al., 2010; Travis et al, 2001). Social ties are important for anyone seeking employment (Granovetter, 1983), but for a convicted felon they can be particularly salient. A history of serious offending can make an individual appear untrustworthy and, therefore, less employable (Pager, 2003; Petersilia, 2003; Western et al. 2001). An endorsement by a family member can persuade potential employers to overlook the stigma of incarceration. For example, Berg and Huebner (2010) found that released prisoners who had strong family ties were more likely to maintain a job compared to less attached prisoners. Moreover, released prisoners who had jobs and strong family ties were much less likely to reoffend. In addition to unemployment, returning prisoners tend to have a lot of debt (Levingston and Turetsky, 2007), and are likely to encounter housing issues. While incarcerated, many prisoners accumulate debts from child support, court-imposed fines and 6 assessments, restitution to victims, and other sources. Faced with unemployment and debt, would-be private landlords are unlikely to rent to returning prisoners (Travis et al., 2001). Similarly, federally-funded housing is not available to those who have histories of drug or violence-related offenses. Because about half of returning prisoners were serving a sentence for a drug or violence-related conviction, and even more ex-prisoners have at least one prior drug or violence-related conviction, most returning prisoners are not eligible for federal housing assistance (Petersilia, 2003). Many newly released prisoners rely on their families for financial assistance and housing (e.g., Nelson et al., 1999; Visher et al., 2004). For example, in a study that followed 205 men leaving prison, La Vigne et al. (2004) found that 59 percent of these men were receiving financial support from spouses, family members, or friends, and 88 percent were living with family members. Eighty-four percent of the ex-prisoners in Visher et al.’s (2010) study were living with family seven months out of prison, and 92 percent received cash assistance from their families. In Nelson’s (1999) qualitative study of reentry in New York City, 40 out of the 49 participants lived with family immediately after release. Perhaps more importantly, released prisoners who lived with family members were less likely to abscond from parole. Although few of this study’s participants received cash support from family, most received some other form of material support. Altogether, social support networks appear to be an effective and cheap reentry tool. Prison Visitation Research It has been nearly 40 years since the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals (1973) recommended that prisons develop policies more conducive to visitation. Yet, impediments to prison visitation continue despite the fact that 7 researchers and prison administrators have long been aware of the benefits of visitation programs (Farrell, 2004; Schafer, 1994). Decades of research indicate that visits from family improve institutional behavior and lower the likelihood of recidivism for inmates (e.g., Borgman, 1985; Carlson and Cervera, 1992; Casey-Acevedo and Bakken, 2001; Bales and Mears, 2008; Holt and Miller, 1972). In one of the first studies of the effects of prison visitation on recidivism, Holt and Miller (1972) found that only 2 percent of prisoners who had three or more visitors in their final year of incarceration returned to prison within a year of release, compared to 12 percent of prisoners who had no visitors. In subsequent studies of prison visits and furlough programs, researchers found similar results (e.g., Adams and Fischer, 1976; Glaser, 1964; Howser and McDonald, 1982; Leclair, 1978). More frequent and intense visits with family and friends, either through visits or furloughs, decrease the likelihood of recidivism and parole failure. Recent Studies More recent research has found similar results. Bales and Mears (2008) examined the effects of prison visitation on recidivism among 7,000 Florida state prison inmates. They limited their sample to prisoners who were serving at least a one-year sentence, and they looked only at visits that occurred during the final year of incarceration. The authors found that the frequency, timing, and type of visitor were all related to the risk of recidivism. Any and more frequent visits during the last year of imprisonment reduced the risk of recidivism. Visits that occurred close to the time of release had the strongest effect on recidivism. Visits from both family and friends reduced the risk of recidivism, but visits from spouses had an even stronger negative effect on the risk of recidivism. Even among the individuals who did 8 reoffend, the prisoners who were visited took longer to do so compared to the 58 percent of the sample who did not receive any visits. In another recent study, Derkzen et al. (2009) compared post-release outcomes among 6,537 Canadian inmates who did not receive any visits, inmates that received standard prison visits, and inmates who received special private family visits. Like Bales and Mears (2008), Derkzen and colleagues (2009) examined visits during the last year of confinement for offenders. The results of this study were similar to the results of the Bales and Mears (2008) study, as prisoners who received visits from family and friends were significantly less likely to reoffend or be readmitted to prison. Private family visits were associated with an even larger reduction in recidivism compared to regular visits. Prisoners who participated in the longer, more private family visits were much less likely to reoffend or be readmitted to prison compared to inmates who had shorter, more restricted visits or no visits at all. This study builds on the recent research by Bales and Mears (2008) and Derkzen et al. (2009) in several ways. First, it examines the impact of visitation on recidivism for all released offenders regardless of their length of stay (LOS) in prison. If inmates were limited to a LOS of 12 months or more, 44 percent of the offenders in this study’s sample and 80 percent of those who were admitted to prison as parole violators would be excluded. By including all offenders released from Minnesota prisons during the 2003-2007 period, this study contains a more representative sample of released prisoners, thereby increasing the generalizability of the findings. Second, despite the focus on visitation over the entire confinement period, this study still examines whether the timing of visits matters by developing a measure, as described later, that weights visits on the basis of when they occurred during an offender’s term of imprisonment. Third, by examining twice the number 9 of inmate-visitor relationship categories (16 vs. 8) than the recent studies on prisoners from Florida and Canada, several types of relationships are identified hat have a significant association with recidivism. Fourth, a more robust assessment of the effects of visitation on recidivism is obtained by tracking a larger sample of offenders, on average, for nearly five years following their release from prison, which is substantially longer than the two-year follow-up period used in the Florida and Canada studies. Finally, whereas the Derzken et al. (2009) study defined recidivism as 1) reincarceration for a new offense and 2) any reincarceration, prior research is extended by including a recidivism measure that focuses specifically on returns to prison for “technical violations.” Determining whether visitation reduces the risk of a technical violation revocation is important considering that the average revocation costs the State of Minnesota roughly $9,000 (the average LOS for a release violator in Minnesota is five months and the marginal per diem is approximately $60). Data and Methodology The effects of prison visitation on recidivism were examined among 16,420 inmates released from Minnesota prisons between 2003 and 2007. As noted above, all released offenders in the sample were included regardless of how long they were incarcerated. Because recidivism data were collected on these offenders through June 30, 2010, the followup period ranges from 2.5 to 6.5 years, with 4.5 being the average. Measures Dependent Variable Recidivism, the outcome variable, was measured two different ways in this study. It was operationalized as 1) a reconviction for a felony-level offense, and 2) a revocation for a technical violation. Felony reconvictions strictly measure new criminal offenses, whereas 10 technical violation revocations represent a broader measure of rule-breaking behavior. Offenders can have their supervision revoked for violating the conditions of their supervised release. Because these violations can include activity that may not be criminal in nature (e.g., use of alcohol, failing a community-based treatment program, failure to maintain agent contact, failure to follow curfew, etc.), technical violation revocations do not necessarily measure reoffending. The analyses were limited to these two outcome measures due to the relatively large number of visitation variables (five) examined. Although misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor offenses were excluded, the analyses still capture serious instances of reoffending (felony reconvictions) as well as less serious rule violations involving both criminal and non-criminal behavior (technical violation revocations). Data on felony reconvictions were obtained electronically from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), whereas technical violation revocation data were derived from the MnDOC’s Correctional Operation Management System (COMS) database. Consequently, a limitation with these data is that they measure only reconvictions and revocations that took place in the State of Minnesota. Moreover, as with any recidivism study, official criminal history data will likely underestimate the actual extent to which the offenders examined here recidivated. In the supervision revocation analyses, 775 offenders were excluded because they were discharged at the time of release, leaving a total sample size of 15,645 offenders. Because they were released to no supervision, they were not at risk for revocation. Visitation Measures 11 In examining the effects of visitation on recidivism, this study attempted to assess the effects of any visit, the frequency of visits, and the timing of visits. Moreover, to determine whether the size of an offender’s social support network is associated with recidivism, the number of individual visitors an offender had was measured. As a result, visitation was measured five different ways: 1) any visit, 2) number of individual visitors, 3) total number of visits, 4) monthly number of visits, and 5) recent number of visits. The visitation data were obtained from COMS. To estimate the effects of any visitation, a dichotomous measure, any visit, was created in which visited offenders received a value of 1 and those who were not visited were given a value of 0. The extent of social support was assessed by measuring the total number of individual visitors an offender had while incarcerated. To examine the frequency of visitation, the total number of visits inmates received during their confinement was counted. Yet, because the total number of visits is, to some extent, a function of how long an offender is incarcerated, an additional layer of control was added for an offender’s length of stay in prison by creating a measure, monthly number of visits, in which the total number of visits was divided by the number of months an offender was incarcerated. For example, the monthly number of visits for an offender visited 95 times during a 10-month incarceration period would be 9.5. In an effort to better measure the effects of more recent visits over the entire length of stay in prison (as opposed to the last 12 months), a measure, Recency Score, was developed to capture these effects. A value was first assigned to each visit an offender received on the basis of the following formula: 1 – (Number of days between the visit date and the offender’s release date/Number of days incarcerated). The recency value assigned to a visit therefore 12 ranges from a low of 0 (not recent) to a high of 1 (very recent). An offender visited on the first (i.e., oldest) day of his confinement would receive a recency value of 0, whereas a visit on the last day (i.e., most recent) would garner a recency value of 1. The recency values for each visit were then summed and divided by the number of months an offender was incarcerated to form a Recency Score for each offender. Inmate-Visitor Relationship To determine whether the effects of visitation vary according to who visits inmates, the visitation data were disaggregated into the following 16 visitor-offender relationship categories: spouse, ex-spouse, son or daughter, mother, father, other parent or guardian, sibling, in-law, other relative, grandparent, grandchildren, friend, clergy, mentor, other professional, and other. For each of the 16 categories, measures were developed for any visits, total number of visits, monthly number of visits, and recency score. These measures are similar, therefore, to those discussed above for visitation in general except that these pertain specifically to visits by spouses, mothers, fathers, clergy, and so on. These four visitation measures (any visit, total number of visits, monthly number of visits, and recent visits) were created for each visitor-offender relationship category because visits are the unit of analysis. The individual number of visitors for each relationship category was not measured, however, because the offender (rather than the visit) is the unit of analysis. Independent Variables The independent, or control, variables included in the statistical models were those that were not only available in the COMS database but also might theoretically have an impact on recidivism. The following lists these variables and describes how they were created: 13 Offender Sex: dichotomized as male (1) or female (0). Offender Race: dichotomized as minority (1) or white (0). Age at Release: the age of the offender in years at the time of release based on the date of birth and release date. Metro Area: a rough proxy of urban and rural Minnesota, this variable measures an offender’s county of commitment, dichotomizing it into either metro area (1) or Greater Minnesota (0). The seven counties in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area include Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington. The remaining 80 counties were coded as non-metro area or Greater Minnesota counties. Prior Supervision Failures: the number of prior revocations while under correctional supervision (probation or supervised release). Prior Felony Convictions: the number of prior felony convictions, excluding the conviction(s) that resulted in the offender’s incarceration. Admission Type: three dummy variables were created to measure prison admission type. The three variables were new commitment (1 = new commitment, 0 = probation or release violator), probation violator (1 = probation violator, 0 = new commitment or release violator), and release violator (1= release violator, 0 = new commitment or probation violator). Release violator serves as the reference in the statistical analyses. Length of Stay (LOS): the number of months between prison admission and release dates. Offense Type: five dummy variables were created to quantify offense type; i.e., the governing offense at the time of release. The five variables were person offense (1 = person offense, 0 = non-person offense); property offense (1 = property offense, 0 = non-property offense); drug offense (1 = drug offense, 0 = non-drug offense); felony driving while intoxicated 14 (DWI) offense (1 = DWI offense, 0 = non-DWI offense); and other offense (1 = other offense, 0 = non-other offense). The person offense variable serves as the reference in the statistical analyses. Institutional Discipline: the number of discipline convictions received during the term of imprisonment prior to release. Chemical Dependency (CD) Treatment: this variable measures whether offenders had, by the time they were released from prison, entered CD treatment (1) or were untreated (0) during their current prison sentence. Sex Offender Treatment: this variable measures whether offenders had, by the time they were released from prison, entered sex offender treatment (1) or were untreated (0) during their current prison sentence. Type of Post-Release Supervision: five dummy variables were created to measure the level of post-release supervision to which offenders were released. The five variables were intensive supervised release (ISR) (1 = ISR, 0 = non-ISR); supervised release (SR) (1 = SR, 0 = nonSR); work release (1 = work release, 0 = non-work release); Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) (1 = CIP, 0 = non-CIP), and discharge (1 = discharge or no supervision, 0 = released to supervision). Work release and CIP are early release programs operated by the MnDOC. Offenders placed on work release are subject to regular supervised release, whereas offenders who complete the institutional phase of CIP, a correctional boot camp that has been found to be effective in reducing recidivism (Duwe and Kerschner, 2008), are placed on ISR. Supervised release is the variable that serves as the reference in the statistical analyses. 15 Release Year: measuring the year in which offenders were first released from prison for the instant offense, this variable is included to control for any unobserved differences between the different release year cohorts from 2003-2007. Supervised Release Revocations (SRRs): to control for the potential effects of technical violation revocations on reoffending, this measure was included in the models that specifically examined new criminal offenses (reconviction). This variable measured the number of times an offender returned to prison as a supervised release violator (for a technical violation) between the date of his/her release from prison and the date of his/her first reoffense (for those who reoffended), or June 30, 2010, (the end of the follow-up period), for those who did not reoffend. Analysis In analyzing recidivism, survival analysis models are preferable in that they utilize time-dependent data, which are important in determining not only whether offenders recidivate but also when they recidivate. As a result, this study uses a Cox regression model, which uses both “time” and “status” variables in estimating the impact of the independent variables on recidivism. For the analyses presented here, the “time” variable measures the amount of time from the date of release until the date of first reconviction, technical violation revocation, or June 30, 2010, for those who did not recidivate. The “status” variable, meanwhile, measures whether an offender recidivated (felony reconviction or technical violation revocation) during the period in which she/he was at risk to recidivate. In the analyses presented below, Cox regression models were estimated for both recidivism measures. 16 To accurately measure the total amount of time an offender was actually at risk to reoffend (i.e., “street time”), it was necessary to account for instances in which an offender was not at risk to recidivate following release from prison. Failure to do so would bias the findings by artificially increasing the lengths of offenders’ at-risk periods. Accordingly, for the felony reconviction analyses, the time offenders spent in prison as supervised release violators was subtracted from their total at-risk period as long as it 1) preceded a felony reconviction, or 2) occurred prior to July 1, 2010, (the end of the follow-up period) for those who were not reconvicted. As shown later, several of the Cox regression models contain a relatively large number of predictors, which raises concerns about multicollinearity. To be sure, methods such as principal components analysis (PCA) are often helpful in identifying a smaller number of predictors that account for much of the variance observed within a larger set of variables. PCA was not used, however, for several reasons. First, the degrees of freedom in the analyses were sufficient due to the large sample size (N = 16,420). Second, the results from the correlation matrix estimated, which are not shown here, indicate that while nine correlations were above 0.50 (any sibling visit-any mother visit = 0.513; number of father visits-number of mother visits = 0.555; monthly father visits-monthly mother visits = 0.542; recent father visits-recent mother visits = 0.527; number of visitors-any mother visits = 0.555; number of visitors-any sibling visits = 0.610; number of visitors-any relative visits = 0.592; number of visitors-any friend visits = 0.577; and number of visitors-number of friend visits = 0.514), none exceeded 0.610. Finally, ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models were estimated with both outcome measures, and none of the covariates had tolerance values below .05 or variance inflation factor (VIF) values that exceeded 20. 17 Results As shown in Table 1, of the 16,420 inmates, 61 percent were visited at least once during their confinement, which is higher than that reported by either Bales and Mears (2008) (41 percent) or Derkzen et al. (2009) (46 percent). The higher visitation rate observed here is likely due to the fact this study measured visitation over the entire incarceration period, as opposed to the last year of confinement. The average number of visits per inmate was 36, which amounted to nearly two visits each month. In addition, offenders were, on average, visited by three individuals. When examining inmate-visitor relationship, the results show that nearly half of the offenders (47 percent) were visited by a friend. Nearly one-third of the inmates were visited by their mothers, and a little more than one-fourth were visited by a sibling. Finally, the results show that 38 percent of the offenders were reconvicted of a felony by the end of June 2010, whereas 42 percent had their supervision revoked for a technical violation. The findings from the Cox regression model presented in Table 2 show that each measure of visitation has a statistically significant effect on the risk of reconviction. For example, the hazard of reconviction for a felony was 13 percent lower for the visited inmates than for those who were not visited. Each visit in prison reduced the risk of reconviction by 0.1 percent, whereas one visit per month was associated with a 0.9 percent decrease. The findings also suggest that visits closer to an offender’s release date are more important, as reflected by a 3.6 percent decrease in the reconviction hazard. Lastly, the results show that the number of individual visitors had a significant effect, reducing the risk of reconviction by 3 percent for each additional visitor. 18 Table 1. Descriptive Statistics Any Visit M 0.610 0.080 0.010 0.190 0.310 0.160 0.050 0.260 0.070 0.180 0.070 0.010 0.470 0.020 0.010 0.000 0.010 3.070 0.910 0.470 33.833 0.520 0.910 2.590 Visitation Measure Spouse Ex-spouse Son or Daughter Mother Father Other Parent/Guardian Sibling In-law Other Relative Grandparent Grandchildren Friend Clergy Mentor Other Professional Other Number of Individual Visitors Male Minority Age at Release (years) Metro Commit Prior Supervision Failures Prior Felony Convictions Admission Type New Commitment 0.560 Probation Violator 0.340 Sentence Length 46.421 Offense Type Criminal Sexual Conduct 0.120 Property 0.220 Drugs 0.280 Felony DWI 0.030 Other 0.120 Institutional Discipline 4.610 Drug Treatment 0.160 Sex Offender Treatment 0.020 Supervision Type ISR 0.200 Work Release 0.170 CIP 0.060 Discharge 0.050 Release Year 2004.81 Dependent Variables Felony Reconviction 0.380 Technical Violation Revocation 0.420 N 16,420 ISR = Intensive Supervised Release CIP = Challenge Incarceration Program SD 0.487 0.266 0.115 0.393 0.463 0.367 0.227 0.439 0.259 0.382 0.252 0.114 0.499 0.131 0.100 0.061 0.091 4.249 0.292 0.499 9.821 0.500 1.158 3.243 Total Number M 35.720 2.670 0.130 2.900 4.260 2.020 0.410 2.500 0.420 1.340 0.500 0.140 9.960 0.120 0.140 0.010 0.070 0.497 0.475 70.363 0.329 0.417 0.449 0.174 0.324 10.003 0.362 0.145 0.403 0.372 0.236 0.212 1.447 0.486 0.494 19 SD 88.044 19.576 3.037 13.195 14.023 9.401 3.379 10.701 3.051 6.736 4.122 2.991 27.427 2.021 2.179 0.287 1.652 Per Month M 1.773 0.125 0.007 0.146 0.217 0.104 0.020 0.110 0.020 0.060 0.025 0.005 0.535 0.005 0.004 0.001 0.003 SD 3.696 0.769 0.131 0.599 0.651 0.451 0.158 0.422 0.169 0.279 0.177 0.082 1.336 0.068 0.054 0.016 0.076 Recent M 0.449 0.061 0.004 0.074 0.109 0.053 0.010 0.057 0.010 0.032 0.013 0.003 0.274 0.003 0.003 0.000 0.002 SD 0.880 0.397 0.073 0.311 0.333 0.234 0.083 0.226 0.092 0.149 0.095 0.040 0.705 0.042 0.039 0.012 0.042 Table 2. Cox Regression Models: Impact of Visitation on Time to First Felony Reconviction Any Number Per Month Recent Hazard Ratio 0.869** 1.283** 1.179** 0.966** 1.187** 1.089** 1.169** Visitation Male Minority Age at Release (years) Metro Commit Prior Supervision Failures Prior Felony Convictions Admission Type New Commitment 0.866** Probation Violator 0.919 Sentence Length 0.998** Offense Type Criminal Sexual Conduct 0.708** Property 0.989 Drugs 0.964 Felony DWI 1.370** Other 1.064 Institutional Discipline 1.003* Drug Treatment 0.952 Sex Offender Treatment 0.613** Supervision Type ISR 0.953 Work Release 0.917* CIP 0.559** Discharge 1.225** Release Year 0.907** Supervised Release Revocations 1.014 N 16,420 ISR = Intensive Supervised Release CIP = Challenge Incarceration Program ** p < .01 * p < .05 SE 0.027 0.050 0.028 0.002 0.027 0.011 0.003 Hazard Ratio 0.999** 1.295** 1.198** 0.966** 1.188** 1.089** 1.169** 0.053 0.052 0.000 SE 0.000 0.050 0.027 0.002 0.027 0.011 0.003 Hazard Ratio 0.991* 1.292** 1.200** 0.967** 1.181** 1.088** 1.169** 0.853** 0.906 0.998** 0.053 0.052 0.000 0.058 0.040 0.041 0.095 0.044 0.001 0.046 0.161 0.702** 0.987 0.957 1.336** 1.061 1.003* 0.955 0.611** 0.039 0.038 0.098 0.061 0.010 0.017 0.945 0.920* 0.548** 1.238** 0.908** 1.015 16,420 0.004 0.050 0.027 0.002 0.027 0.011 0.003 Hazard Ratio 0.964* 1.292** 1.198** 0.967** 1.183** 1.089** 1.169** 0.838** 0.896* 0.998** 0.053 0.052 0.000 0.058 0.040 0.041 0.095 0.044 0.001 0.046 0.161 0.705** 0.991 0.957 1.348** 1.058 1.003* 0.936 0.604** 0.039 0.038 0.098 0.061 0.010 0.017 0.947 0.918* 0.560** 1.241** 0.905** 1.017 16,420 20 SE SE Visitors 0.015 0.050 0.027 0.002 0.028 0.011 0.003 Hazard Ratio 0.970** 1.274** 1.171** 0.965** 1.194** 1.086** 1.169** SE 0.004 0.050 0.028 0.002 0.027 0.011 0.003 0.838** 0.896* 0.998** 0.053 0.052 0.000 0.880* 0.927 0.999** 0.053 0.052 0.000 0.058 0.040 0.041 0.095 0.044 0.001 0.046 0.161 0.706** 0.992 0.956 1.350** 1.058 1.003* 0.937 0.603** 0.058 0.040 0.041 0.095 0.044 0.001 0.046 0.161 0.701** 0.979 0.963 1.347** 1.068 1.003* 0.977 0.614** 0.058 0.040 0.041 0.095 0.044 0.001 0.047 0.161 0.039 0.038 0.098 0.061 0.010 0.017 0.947 0.918* 0.556** 1.240** 0.905** 1.017 16,420 0.039 0.038 0.098 0.061 0.010 0.017 0.949 0.926* 0.557** 1.227** 0.909** 1.009 16,420 0.039 0.038 0.098 0.061 0.010 0.017 The findings presented in Table 3 suggest that visitation has a larger effect on technical violation revocations. Indeed, compared to unvisited inmates, the hazard of revocation was 25 percent lower for those who were visited. Although the reduction for each visit was the same at 0.1 percent, we see that each monthly visit reduced the risk of revocation by 3.3 percent. Whereas more recent visits reduced the hazard of revocation by 12.5 percent, each additional visitor lowered the risk of revocation by 4.8 percent. In Tables 4 and 5, a closer look is taken at whether the beneficial effects of visitation varied according to the relationship between the inmate and visitor. In Table 4, any visit from a mentor reduced the risk of reconviction by 29 percent, while a visit by clergy lowered it by 24 percent. Visits from certain family members and relatives also had an impact. The risk of reconviction was reduced by 21 percent for at least one in-law visit, 10 percent for a sibling visit, and 9 percent for a visit by other relatives. In addition, we see that any visit from a friend reduced the risk by 7 percent. Friends and mentors did not have a significant impact for the other three visitation measures, although we see that siblings, in-laws, other relatives, and clergy each a significant effect. The findings also suggest, however, that more recent visits from ex-spouses significantly increased the risk of reconviction. The results in Table 5 show that, once again, visits from siblings, in-laws, and other relatives appeared to be important in reducing the risk of revocation. In these analyses, however, we see that visits from fathers were significantly associated with a reduced risk of revocation for each visitation measure. In addition, visits from friends were associated with a decreased risk of revocation for two of the visitation measures. Again, visits from ex-spouses significantly increased the risk of recidivism for at least one visitation measure. 21 Table 3. Cox Regression Models: Impact of Visitation on Time to First Revocation Any Number Per Month Recent Hazard Ratio 0.751** 1.352** 1.246** 0.980** 1.146** 1.140** 1.061** Visitation Male Minority Age at Release (years) Metro Commit Prior Supervision Failures Prior Felony Convictions Admission Type New Commitment 0.921 Probation Violator 0.928 Sentence Length 0.999** Offense Type Criminal Sexual Conduct 1.665** Property 0.937 Drugs 0.796** Felony DWI 1.374** Other 0.884** Institutional Discipline 1.016** Drug Treatment 0.974 Sex Offender Treatment 0.625** Supervision Type ISR 1.761** Work Release 1.971** CIP 1.361** Release Year 1.006 N 15,645 ISR = Intensive Supervised Release CIP = Challenge Incarceration Program ** p < .01 * p < .05 SE 0.026 0.051 0.027 0.001 0.026 0.011 0.004 Hazard Ratio 0.999** 1.367** 1.289** 0.981** 1.142** 1.143** 1.061** 0.052 0.050 0.000 SE 0.000 0.051 0.026 0.001 0.026 0.011 0.004 Hazard Ratio 0.967** 1.342** 1.277** 0.981** 1.146** 1.141** 1.061** 0.890* 0.897* 0.999** 0.052 0.050 0.000 0.043 0.040 0.041 0.077 0.045 0.001 0.041 0.097 1.649** 0.931 0.784** 1.316** 0.878** 1.015** 0.973 0.619** 0.034 0.035 0.075 0.009 1.736** 1.969** 1.304** 1.008 15,645 0.004 0.051 0.026 0.001 0.026 0.011 0.004 Hazard Ratio 0.885** 1.345** 1.274** 0.981** 1.150** 1.141** 1.061** 0.868** 0.885* 0.999** 0.052 0.050 0.000 0.043 0.040 0.041 0.077 0.045 0.001 0.041 0.097 1.656** 0.937 0.789** 1.331** 0.883** 1.015** 0.956 0.607** 0.034 0.035 0.075 0.009 1.744** 1.981** 1.348** 1.005 15,645 22 SE Visitors SE 0.017 0.051 0.026 0.001 0.026 0.011 0.004 Hazard Ratio 0.952** 1.335** 1.233** 0.979** 1.157** 1.138** 1.059** SE 0.004 0.051 0.027 0.001 0.026 0.011 0.004 0.863** 0.882** 0.999** 0.052 0.050 0.000 0.939 0.931 1.000 0.052 0.050 0.000 0.043 0.040 0.041 0.077 0.045 0.001 0.041 0.097 1.668** 0.939 0.786** 1.337** 0.880** 1.015** 0.958 0.607** 0.043 0.040 0.041 0.077 0.045 0.001 0.041 0.096 1.623** 0.916* 0.786** 1.313** 0.884** 1.016** 1.010 0.633** 0.043 0.040 0.041 0.077 0.045 0.001 0.042 0.096 0.034 0.035 0.075 0.009 1.746** 1.980** 1.320** 1.003 15,645 0.034 0.035 0.075 0.009 1.741** 2.012** 1.336** 1.010 15,645 0.033 0.035 0.075 0.009 Table 4. Cox Regression Models: Inmate-Visitor Relationship on Time to First Reconviction Any Number Per Month Recent Hazard Ratio Inmate-Visitor Relationship Spouse 0.920 Ex-spouse 1.147 Son or Daughter 1.015 Mother 1.037 Father 0.967 Other Parent/Guardian 0.979 Sibling 0.898** In-law 0.792** Other Relative 0.912* Grandparent 0.999 Grandchildren 0.979 Friend 0.935* Clergy 0.756* Mentor 0.706* Other Professional 1.565 Other 0.917 Male 1.262** Minority 1.177** Age at Release (years) 0.966** Metro Commit 1.189** Prior Supervision Failures 1.086** Prior Felony Convictions 1.169** Admission Type New Commitment 0.882* Probation Violator 0.931 Sentence Length 0.999** Offense Type Criminal Sexual Conduct 0.711** Property 0.982 Drugs 0.964 Felony DWI 1.354** Other 1.069 Institutional Discipline 1.003* Drug Treatment 0.973 Sex Offender Treatment 0.623** Supervision Type ISR 0.951 Work Release 0.922* CIP 0.558** Discharge 1.228** Release Year 0.906** Supervised Release Revocations 1.009 N 16,420 ISR = Intensive Supervised Release CIP = Challenge Incarceration Program ** p < .01 * p < .05 SE Hazard Ratio SE Hazard Ratio SE Hazard Ratio SE 0.056 0.125 0.040 0.037 0.043 0.064 0.040 0.069 0.043 0.059 0.146 0.030 0.123 0.170 0.188 0.152 0.051 0.029 0.002 0.027 0.011 0.003 1.000 1.002 0.999 0.999 0.996 0.998 0.994** 0.982* 0.993* 1.006 1.002 1.000 0.950** 0.989 1.047 1.000 1.261** 1.183** 0.966** 1.191** 1.085** 1.170** 0.001 0.005 0.001 0.002 0.002 0.005 0.002 0.008 0.003 0.004 0.008 0.001 0.016 0.010 0.037 0.009 0.051 0.028 0.002 0.028 0.011 0.003 0.996 1.169 0.999 1.002 0.973 0.950 0.891** 0.737* 0.894* 1.164 0.992 1.003 0.483** 0.703 2.393 1.074 1.253** 1.193** 0.967** 1.183** 1.086** 1.171** 0.019 0.088 0.024 0.027 0.039 0.094 0.040 0.122 0.053 0.071 0.232 0.010 0.256 0.321 0.541 0.181 0.051 0.028 0.002 0.028 0.011 0.003 0.997 1.353* 0.982 1.014 0.943 0.917 0.818** 0.579* 0.816* 1.367 1.192 1.008 0.284** 0.618 2.787 1.059 1.255** 1.196** 0.967** 1.182** 1.086** 1.171** 0.035 0.155 0.045 0.052 0.071 0.176 0.072 0.225 0.098 0.128 0.413 0.019 0.458 0.440 0.755 0.314 0.051 0.028 0.002 0.028 0.011 0.003 0.053 0.052 0.000 0.862** 0.913 0.999 0.053 0.052 0.000 0.848** 0.904 0.998** 0.053 0.052 0.000 0.847** 0.904 0.998** 0.053 0.052 0.000 0.058 0.040 0.041 0.095 0.044 0.001 0.047 0.161 0.706 0.979 0.957 1.331** 1.059 1.003* 0.956 0.616** 0.058 0.040 0.041 0.095 0.044 0.001 0.047 0.161 0.707** 0.983 0.959 1.344** 1.058 1.003** 0.939 0.605** 0.058 0.040 0.041 0.095 0.044 0.001 0.046 0.161 0.706** 0.985 0.958 1.344** 1.058 1.003* 0.938 0.605** 0.058 0.040 0.041 0.095 0.044 0.001 0.046 0.161 0.039 0.038 0.098 0.061 0.010 0.017 0.947 0.921* 0.552** 1.238** 0.906** 1.012 16,420 0.039 0.038 0.098 0.061 0.010 0.017 0.947 0.919* 0.565** 1.245** 0.904** 1.014 16,420 0.039 0.038 0.098 0.061 0.010 0.017 0.947 0.919* 0.561** 1.245** 0.903** 1.014 16,420 0.039 0.038 0.098 0.061 0.010 0.017 23 Table 5. Cox Regression Models: Inmate-Visitor Relationship on Time to First Revocation Any Number Per Month Recent Hazard Ratio Inmate-Visitor Relationship Spouse 0.927 Ex-spouse 1.196 Son or Daughter 0.946 Mother 0.934 Father 0.850** Other Parent/Guardian 0.987 Sibling 0.890** In-law 0.806** Other Relative 0.887** Grandparent 1.046 Grandchildren 1.047 Friend 0.902** Clergy 1.064 Mentor 0.898 Other Professional 1.274 Other 0.995 Male 1.343** Minority 1.215** Age at Release (years) 0.979** Metro Commit 1.151** Prior Supervision Failures 1.137** Prior Felony Convictions 1.059** Admission Type New Commitment 0.943 Probation Violator 0.942 Sentence Length 0.999 Offense Type Criminal Sexual Conduct 1.644** Property 0.924 Drugs 0.794** Felony DWI 1.354** Other 0.887** Institutional Discipline 1.016** Drug Treatment 0.995 Sex Offender Treatment 0.637** Supervision Type ISR 1.757** Work Release 2.001** CIP 1.385** Release Year 1.008 N 15,645 ISR = Intensive Supervised Release CIP = Challenge Incarceration Program ** p < .01 * p < .05 SE Hazard Ratio SE Hazard Ratio SE Hazard Ratio SE 0.052 0.109 0.038 0.035 0.041 0.059 0.037 0.061 0.040 0.054 0.126 0.029 0.099 0.127 0.182 0.141 0.051 0.027 0.001 0.026 0.011 0.004 0.999 1.007** 0.999 1.000 0.993** 0.994 0.997 0.979** 0.989** 1.002 1.003 0.999 1.004 0.991 0.997 1.001 1.361** 1.268** 0.981** 1.143** 1.142** 1.060** 0.001 0.003 0.001 0.001 0.002 0.005 0.002 0.007 0.003 0.003 0.006 0.001 0.005 0.007 0.040 0.008 0.051 0.027 0.001 0.026 0.011 0.004 0.988 1.144 0.971 0.988 0.829** 0.809* 0.891* 0.802* 0.830** 1.072 1.151 0.965** 0.958 0.887 0.745 0.967 1.335** 1.249** 0.980** 1.148** 1.140** 1.060** 0.019 0.087 0.029 0.030 0.045 0.108 0.047 0.104 0.061 0.080 0.188 0.011 0.194 0.262 0.843 0.194 0.051 0.027 0.001 0.026 0.011 0.004 0.978 1.312 0.946 0.986 0.700** 0.689 0.820* 0.698* 0.701** 1.174 1.297 0.945** 0.926 0.838 0.83 0.941 1.339** 1.254** 0.980** 1.149** 1.140** 1.060** 0.035 0.149 0.053 0.057 0.086 0.200 0.086 0.184 0.116 0.147 0.368 0.021 0.315 0.355 1.084 0.336 0.051 0.027 0.001 0.026 0.011 0.004 0.052 0.050 0.000 0.901 0.905 0.999* 0.052 0.050 0.000 0.880* 0.895* 0.999** 0.052 0.050 0.000 0.880* 0.898* 0.999** 0.052 0.050 0.000 0.043 0.040 0.041 0.077 0.045 0.001 0.042 0.097 1.650** 0.929 0.782** 1.310** 0.879** 1.015** 0.973 0.628** 0.043 0.040 0.041 0.077 0.045 0.001 0.041 0.097 1.655** 0.931 0.786** 1.327** 0.882** 1.015** 0.959 0.609** 0.043 0.040 0.041 0.077 0.045 0.001 0.041 0.097 1.658** 0.933 0.784** 1.325** 0.881** 1.015** 0.96 0.608** 0.044 0.040 0.041 0.077 0.045 0.001 0.041 0.097 0.034 0.035 0.075 0.009 1.737** 1.981** 1.320** 1.009 15,645 0.034 0.035 0.075 0.009 1.747** 1.993** 1.371** 1.005 15,645 0.034 0.035 0.075 0.009 1.746** 1.991** 1.346** 1.003 15,645 0.034 0.035 0.075 0.009 24 Overall, the findings from Tables 4 and 5 suggest that visits from siblings, in-laws, and other relatives matter the most when it comes to reducing recidivism. Is it possible, however, that the salutary effects of these visits are due more to the fact that offenders visited by siblings, in-laws, and other relatives simply have broader networks of social support? To address this issue, the same Cox regression models presented in Tables 4 and 5 were estimated, except this time the models included the number of individual visitors as a control. The findings from these models are presented in Table 6 but, for the sake of brevity, only the hazard ratio results for the visitation measures are included. The results from Table 6 show that the salutary effects of visits from fathers (technical violation revocation), clergy (felony reconviction), and mentors (the any visit measure for felony reconviction) were relatively unaffected by the introduction of the number of individual visitors, which was statistically significant in all eight models, as a control variable. In addition, ex-spouse visits was not only a significant predictor of recidivism for the same two measures shown earlier in Tables 4 and 5, but it significantly increased the risk of revocation for any visit. In contrast, the findings reveal that the significant effects for sibling, in-law, other relative, and friend visits were due, in part, to the number of individual visitors an offender had. Most notably, whereas other relative visits significantly reduced recidivism in all eight of the models shown earlier, it had only one significant effect in Table 6. Similarly, after controlling for the number of individual visitors, visits from friends were no longer significant. Although three of the effects for sibling visits were no longer significant in Table 6, sibling visits still had an impact on three of the four measures for reoffending. Further, while two of the effects for in-law visits failed to achieve significance in Table 6, it still had a significant effect in the other six models. 25 Table 6. Effects of Inmate-Visitor Relationship on Recidivism Controlling for Number of Individual Visitors Any Number Per Month Recent Felony Inmate-Visitor Relationship Spouse Ex-spouse Son or Daughter Mother Father Other Parent/Guardian Sibling In-law Other Relative Grandparent Grandchildren Friend Clergy Mentor Other Professional Other Number of Individual Visitors N ** p < .01 * p < .05 0.943 1.180 1.054 1.062 0.997 1.007 0.933 0.827** 0.960 1.042 1.012 0.975 0.788* 0.721* 1.616 0.958 0.977** 16,420 Revocation 0.961 1.246* 0.999 0.969 0.892** 1.026 0.945 0.864* 0.960 1.112 1.125 0.963 1.135 0.934 1.327 1.064 0.966** 15,645 Felony 1.000 1.002 1.000 1.000 0.997 1.000 0.996* 0.986* 0.995 1.007 1.001 1.001 0.953** 0.990 1.051 1.001 0.976** 16,420 Revocation 1.000 1.007** 1.000 1.002 0.995* 0.998 1.000 0.988* 0.994* 1.004 1.001 1.001 1.004 0.993 1.004 1.004 0.953** 15,645 26 Felony 1.005 1.159 1.015 1.027 0.995 1.009 0.927* 0.796* 0.948 1.199 1.044 1.017 0.514** 0.764 2.516 1.104 0.969** 16,420 Revocation 0.999 1.109 1.002 1.025 0.871** 0.886 0.973 0.879 0.921 1.126 1.205 0.987 1.036 0.974 0.821 1.016 0.958** 15,645 Felony 1.013 1.310* 1.013 1.067 0.984 1.028 0.876* 0.673* 0.909 1.438 1.331 1.036 0.317** 0.694 2.927 1.125 0.968** 16,420 Revocation 0.999 1.210 1.001 1.063 0.771** 0.822 0.965 0.829 0.869 1.270 1.470 0.988 1.022 0.951 0.893 1.035 0.956** 15,645 Conclusion Consistent with the results from prior research, the findings reported here suggest that prison visitation can significantly improve the transition offenders make from the institution to the community. Any visit reduced the risk of recidivism by 13 percent for felony reconvictions and 25 percent for technical violation revocations, which reflects the fact that visitation generally had a greater impact on revocations. The findings further showed that more frequent and recent visits were associated with a decreased risk of recidivism. The results also suggest that the more sources of social support an offender has, the lower the risk of recidivism. While visits in general reduced recidivism, visits from some individuals were more beneficial than others. After controlling for the number of individual visitors offenders had, visits from in-laws significantly reduced the risk of reconviction for all four visitation measures and revocation for two of the measures. There were several relationships that had an impact on a specific type of recidivism. For example, the risk of reconviction was reduced by clergy visits for all four visitation measures and by sibling visits for three of the measures. In contrast, the risk of revocation was decreased by father visits for all four visitation measures. Visits by mentors and other relatives, meanwhile, reduced the risk of reconviction and revocation, respectively, for at least one visitation measure. And not all types of visitation have a beneficial effect on recidivism, as visits from ex-spouses significantly increased the risk of recidivism for several visitation measures. That ex-spouse visits increased recidivism is likely due to the conflict generally present in severed relationships, which could create instability for offenders who remain in contact with former spouses. But why were visits from fathers, siblings, in-laws, and clergy 27 the most important in reducing recidivism, whereas visits from presumably more significant sources such as mothers, spouses, and children had less impact? Although the data and methodology used in this study do not permit drawing firm conclusions, it is possible to speculate why some of these relationships appeared to be more important than others. The different effects of visits from mothers and fathers, for example, may reflect the fact that, compared to growing up with a single parent (usually the mother), a two-parent household is generally a protective factor against criminal offending (Entner Wright and Younts, 2009) or, in this case, recidivism. In offering more of a peer perspective, siblings may help offenders remain accountable by providing them with more honest support and feedback. For those who are married, visits with either spouses or children may be difficult because they create more stress and are often reminders of how their incarceration is preventing them from raising their children or helping provide for their families. In-laws, on the other hand, may be able to provide offenders with supportive visits from family members that are generally free of the difficulties that may accompany visits with spouses or children. Finally, considering that clergy often receive training in helping individuals through difficult life circumstances, they may be able to give offenders effective counsel and support. As with prior studies on prison visitation, the main limitation with this study is that it was unable to control for whether the results obtained were due to pre-incarceration differences in social support. That is, the findings may simply reflect that offenders with stronger pre-incarceration social support systems were more likely to be visited and were more likely to have support following their release from prison. As Bales and Mears (2008) pointed out in their study, however, the effect that timing of visitation has on recidivism does not support the idea that a prior bond is the cause of the recidivism reduction. Moreover, this 28 study statistically controlled for factors typically associated with an increased risk of recidivism, such as prior supervision failures and prior felonies convictions, as well as those that have been demonstrated to decrease the risk among Minnesota prisoners, such as participation in prison-based chemical dependency treatment (Duwe, 2010), sex offender treatment (Duwe and Goldman, 2009), and correctional boot camp programming (Duwe and Kerschner, 2008). Implications for Correctional Policy and Practice Despite this limitation, the findings suggest that prison visitation can improve recidivism outcomes by helping offenders not only maintain social ties with both nuclear and extended family members (especially fathers, siblings, and in-laws) while incarcerated, but also by developing new bonds such as those with clergy or mentors. In doing so, offenders can sustain or broaden their networks of social support, which was important in lowering recidivism. Given the public safety benefits that appear to be associated with prison visitation, it is reasonable to suggest that correctional systems should make efforts to promote greater visitation while still, at the same time, ensuring that these efforts do not compromise the safety and security of correctional staff, inmates, and visitors. In their study on Florida prisoners, Bales and Mears (2008) suggested that prisons can foster greater visitation by: 1) placing inmates in facilities as close to their home communities as possible, 2) encouraging community service agencies and organizations to visit inmates, 3) ensuring parking is available for visitors, 4) expanding visiting hours to evenings and weekends to accommodate visitors who are employed or have to travel long distances, 5) decreasing bureaucratic barriers to visitation, 6) increasing the cultural sensitivity of staff members, and 7) making sure that visitation rooms are clean, comfortable, 29 and hospitable. Because most of these suggestions would entail revising visitation policies, the cost (mainly staff time) involved with revising these policies, which would be relatively minimal in comparison to developing, implementing, and operating a visitation program, would likely be more than offset by the public safety benefits resulting from decreased recidivism. Recall, for example, that release violators cost the State of Minnesota, on average, $9,000 for every return to prison. Moreover, research has shown that criminal offending can be even more costly to society (Cohen and Piquero, 2009). Revising visitation policies to make them more “visitor friendly” may therefore represent a relatively low costpotentially high benefit measure that correctional systems could take to help ease the burden of prison overcrowding and budget deficits. While policies that are more visitor friendly would likely help increase visitation overall, it is anticipated that these types of policy changes would not necessarily increase visitation to a significant extent among inmates who have little or no social support. Moreover, prison caseworkers and community supervision agents typically have high caseloads that make it challenging to adequately address offender social support issues in either prison or the community. To encourage the development of social bonds among unvisited inmates, who comprised nearly 40 percent of the sample, it is suggested that correctional systems consider allocating greater resources that are geared towards identifying sources of social support for high-risk offenders who are less likely to be visited. In particular, it is proposed that the implementation of visitation programming, including the addition of staff, could be an effective strategy to increase visitation among unvisited inmates. Because many offenders have burned bridges with loved ones by the time they reach prison, facilitating visits from friends and family may not be an option. Yet, 30 considering the impact visits from clergy and, to a lesser extent, mentors appear to have on reoffending, it may be beneficial for visitation programs to focus on facilitating visits from clergy, mentors, and other volunteers from the community. To be sure, developing and implementing a visitation program would exact a greater cost in comparison to policy revisions, but the potential public safety benefits resulting from the identification of social support for unvisited inmates could be substantial. In addition to increasing visitation among low social support inmates, the implementation of a visitation program would provide an opportunity to further clarify the causal relationship between visits and recidivism. Assuming that observed differences in pre-incarceration social support would be controlled for statistically or by research design, an evaluation could help determine the efficacy of visitation by assessing whether a visitation program 1) increased visits and 2) decreased recidivism for inmate participants. Future studies on prison visitation should also examine more closely the factors that affect whether and to what extent prisoners receive visits. In particular, research should determine the degree to which visitation is influenced by the physical distance between the facility where an offender is incarcerated and the location(s) where friends and family members reside. Although the proximity of friends and family is seldom an influential criterion in determining the facility at which to place an offender, at least in Minnesota, perhaps it should receive greater consideration in the event there is a significant association between visitation and the distances sources of social support must travel to visit inmates. Research suggests that correctional programming tends to be more effective when there is a continuum of care, or service delivery, from the institution to the community. Indeed, evaluations of drug treatment (Inciardi, Martin, and Butzin, 2004), employment 31 programming (Duwe, in press), and reentry programming in general (Duwe, 2011) have shown that connecting programming delivered in the community to that provided in prison produces better recidivism outcomes. Similarly, to strengthen the salutary effects of prison visitation, it is suggested that efforts should also be made in the community to help to preserve the social ties that were established or maintained in prison. Conceptualizing prison visitation as part of a broader continuum of social support from the institution to the community would likely require greater collaboration between institutional caseworkers, community supervision agents, and community service agencies. Again, however, the public safety benefits resulting from increased social support for offenders—both in the institution and the community—would likely outweigh the costs involved to bring about systemic change. 32 References Adams, D., and Fischer, J. (1976). The Effects of Prison Residents’ Community Contacts on Recidivism Rates. Corrective and Social Psychiatry and Journal of Behavior Technology Methods and Therapy 22:21-27. Agnew, R. (1992). Foundation for a General Strain Theory of Crime and Delinquency. Criminology 30:47-88. Austin, J., Clear, T., Duster, T., Greenberg, D.F., Irwin, J., McCoy, C., Mobley, A., Owen, B., and Page, J. (2007). Unlocking America: Why and How to Reduce America’s Prison Population. Washington, D.C.: The JFA Institute. Bales, W.D., and Mears, D.P. (2008). Inmate Social Ties and the Transition to Society: Does Visitation Reduce Recidivism? Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 45:287-321. Berg, M., and Huebner, B.M. (2010). Reentry and the Ties that Bind: An Examination of Social Ties, Employment, and Recidivism. Justice Quarterly. Berstein, J., and Houston, E. (2000). Crime and Work: What We Can Learn from the LowWage Labor Market. Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute. Borgman, R. (1985). Influence of Family Visiting Upon Boys’ Behavior in a Juvenile Correctional Institution. Child Welfare 65(6):629-638. Brees, J.R., Ra’el, K., and Grant, G.K. (2000). No Place Like Home: A Qualitative Investigation of Social Support and Its Effects on Recidivism. Sociological Practice: A Journal of Clinical and Applied Research 2(1):1-21. Carlson, B.E., and Cervera, N. (1992). Inmates and their Wives: Incarceration and Family Life. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Casey-Acevedo, K., and Bakken, T. (2001). Effects of Visitation on Women in Prison. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 25(1):49-70. Christian, J. (2005). Riding the Bus: Barriers to Prison Visitation and Family Management Strategies. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 21:31-48. Clark, T.A. (2001). The Relationship Between Inmate Visitation and Behavior: Implications for African American Families. Journal of African American Men 6(1):43-58. Cohen, M.A. & Piquero, A.R. (2009). New evidence on the monetary value of saving a high risk youth. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 25: 25-49. 33 Coughenour, J.C. (1995). Separate and Unequal: Women in the Federal Criminal Justice System. Federal Sentencing Reporter 8(2):142-144. Derkzen, D., Gobeil, R., and Gileno, J. (2009). Visitation and Post-Release Outcomes Among Federally-Sentenced Offenders. Research Report. Ottawa, Ontario: Correctional Service of Canada. Duwe, G. (in press). The benefits of keeping idle hands busy: The impact of a prisoner reentry employment program on post-release employment and offender recidivism. Crime & Delinquency. Duwe, G. (2010). Prison-based chemical dependency treatment in Minnesota: An outcome evaluation. The Journal of Experimental Criminology 6: 57-81. Duwe, G. (2011). Evaluating the Minnesota Comprehensive Offender Reentry Plan (MCORP): Results from a randomized experiment. Justice Quarterly DOI: 10.1080/07418825.2011.555414. Duwe, G. & Goldman, R. (2009). The impact of prison-based treatment on sex offender recidivism: Evidence from Minnesota. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 21: 279-307. Duwe, G. & Kerschner, D. (2008). Removing a nail from the boot camp coffin: An outcome evaluation of Minnesota’s Challenge Incarceration Program. Crime & Delinquency 54: 614-643. Enter Wright, B.R. & Younts, C.W. (2009). Reconsidering the relationship between race and crime: Positive and negative predictors of crime among African American youth. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 46: 327-352. Farrell, D. (2004). Correctional Facilities: Prisoners’ Visitation Rights, The Effect of Overton v. Bazetta and Lawrence v. Texas. The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law 5:167-174. Glaser, D. (1964). The Effectiveness of a Prison and Parole System. Indianapolis, IN: BobbsMerrill. Goode, E. (2011). “Inmate Visits Now Carry Added Cost in Arizona.” New York Times, Accessed September 9th, 2011 at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/us/ 05prison.html. Granovetter, M. (1983). The Strength of Weak Ties: A Network Theory Revisited. Sociological Theory 1:201-233. 34 Hairston, C.F., Rollin, J., and Jo, H. (2004). Family Connections during Imprisonment and Prisoner’s Community Reentry. Chicago, IL: Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research. Hirschi, T. (1969). Causes of Delinquency. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Holt, N., and Miller, D. (1972). Explorations in Inmate-Family Relationships. Research Report No. 46. Research Division. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Corrections. Homer, E.L. (1979). Inmate-Family Ties: Desirable but Difficult. Federal Probation 43:4752. Horney, J., Osgood, D.W., and Marshall, I.H. (1995). Criminal Careers in the Short-Term: Intra-individual variability in crime and its relation to local life circumstances. American Sociological Review 60:655-673. Howser, J.F., and MacDonald, D. (1982). Maintaining Family Ties. Corrections Today 9697. Hughes, T., and Wilson, D.J. (2003). Reentry Trends in the United States: Inmates Returning to the Community after Serving Time in Prison. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Inciardi, J.A., Martin, S.S. & Butzin, C.A. (2004). Five-year outcomes of therapeutic community treatment of drug-involved offenders after release from prison. Crime & Delinquency 50: 88-107. Irwin, J., and Austin, J. (1994). It’s About Time: America’s Imprisonment Binge. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Langan, P.A., and Levin, D.J. (2002). Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994. NCJ 193427. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. LaVigne, N.G., Naser, R.L., Brooks, L.E., and Castro, J.L. (2005). Examining the Effect of Incarceration and In-Prison Family Contact on Prisoner’s Family Relationships. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 21(4):314-335. LaVigne, N.G., Visher, C., Castro, J.L. (2004). Chicago Prisoners’ Experiences Returning Home. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center. Leclair, D.P. (1978). Home Furlough Program Effects on Rates of Recidivism. Criminal Justice and Behavior 5(3):249-259. Levingston, K.D., and Turetsky, V. (2007). Debtors’ Prison—Prisoners’ Accumulation of Debt as a Barrier to Reentry. Journal of Poverty Law and Policy 41(3-4):187-197. 35 Lynch, J.P., and Sabol W.J. (2001). Prisoner Reentry in Perspective. Crime Policy Report. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center. Minnesota Department of Corrections. (2011). Adult Inmate Profile Card as of 07/11/2011. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Corrections. National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals. (1973). Corrections. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Nelson, M., Deess, P., and Allen, C. (1999). The First Month Out: Post-incarceration experiences in New York City. New York: Vera Institute of Justice. Pager, D. (2003). The Mark of a Criminal Record. The American Journal of Sociology 108:937-975. Petersilia, J. (1999). Parole and Prisoner Reentry in the United States. Crime and Justice 26:479-529. Petersilia, J. (2003). When Prisoners Come Home: Parole and Prisoner Reentry. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Pew Center on the States. (2008). One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008. Washington, D.C.: Pew Center on the States, Public Safety Performance Project. Rocque, M., Bierie, D.M., and MacKenzie, D.L. (2010). Social Bonds and Change During Incarceration: Testing a Missing Link in the Reentry Research. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. Sabol, W.J., West, H.C., and Cooper, M. (2009). Prisoners in 2008. Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Sampson, R.J., and Laub, J.H. (1993). Crime in the Making: Pathways and turning points through life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Schafer, N.E. (1994). Exploring the Link between Visits and Parole Success: A Survey of Prison Visitors. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 38(1):17-32. Schirmer, S., Nellis, A., and Mauer, M. (2009). Incarcerated Parents and Their Children: Trends 1991-2007. Washington, D.C.: The Sentencing Project. Shinkfield, A.J., and Graffam, J. (2009). Community Reintegration of Ex-Prisoners: Type and degree of change in variables influencing successful reintegration. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 53(1): 29-42. 36 Sturges, J.E. (2002). Visitation at County Jails: Potential Policy Implications. Criminal Justice Policy Review 13(1):32-45. Travis, J., Solomon, A.L., and Waul, M. (2001). From Prison to Home: The Dimensions and Consequences of Prisoner Reentry. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center. Visher, C.A., and Travis, J. (2003). Transitions from Prison to Community: Understanding Individual Pathways. Annual Review of Sociology 29:89-113. Visher, C.A., La Vigne, N., and Travis, J. (2004). Returning Home: Understanding the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry. Maryland Pilot Study: Findings from Baltimore. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center. Visher, C.A., Yahner, J., and LaVigne, N. (2010). Life after Prison: Tracking the Experiences of Male Prisoners Returning to Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston. Research Brief. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center. Western, B., Kling, J.R., and Weiman, D.F. (2001). The Labor Market Consequences of Incarceration. Crime & Delinquency 47(3):410-427. 37