"Almost by definition, incarceration separates individuals from their families, but for decades this country has also placed unnecessary burdens on the family members left behind. Certainly in practice and perhaps by design, prisons are lonely places. Analyzing little-used government data, we find that visits are the exception rather than the rule. Less than a third of people in state prisons receive a visit from a loved one in a typical month ... Despite the breadth of research showing that visits and maintaining family ties are among the best ways to reduce recidivism, the reality of having a loved one behind bars is that visits are unnecessarily grueling and frustrating" (p. 1). This report is an excellent introduction to the challenges families face visiting their loved ones in prison and ways state policymakers can reduce these hardships. Five recommendations cover: prison time as a last resort; adoption of visitation policies that promote family visitation; reduction of prison and jail telephone costs; suggestions from inmates and their families on how to make visitation easier; and alternatives to prison expansion.
Separation by Bars and Miles: Visitation in State Prisons