Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Why not make visiting prisoners easier in Texas?
English teacher John Crisp from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi recounts a recent trip to a South Texas prison to visit a young man who'd violated his probation on a marijuana charge.
English teacher John Crisp from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi recounts a recent trip to a South Texas prison to visit a young man who'd violated his probation on a marijuana charge. While he respected the need for rules and restrictions, he said, "I wonder if visitors aren't worked over with a little more attitude than is called for?" Read Crisp's account of the visit, which tracks pretty closely with my own experience, then somebody please tell me the answer to this teacher's central question:
why not make visiting easy, rather than difficult, since lack of interested human contact is already a significant contributor to many prisoners' incarcerations?
This isn't some bleeding heart concern; facilitating family visits for prisoners significantly helps reduce future crime and improves inmate behavior while they're incarcerated. The New York Times reported today that "several recidivism studies have found that convicts who keep in touch with family members through visits and phone privileges are less likely to violate their parole or commit new offenses."
Why discourage such contact when logic and evidence tells us family visits help reduce recidivism and improve public safety?