Report on Prison Visitation Policies Spurs Reform in Some States
Date:  08-02-2013

Fifty-State survey by Yale law students praised by scholars, researchers and policy makers
On November 15, 2012 Reentry Central posted a report Prison Visitation Policies: A Fifty State Survey,the first 50-state review of prison visiting policies. The authors ,Chesa Boudin, Trevor Stutz, and Aaron Littmanstated “Visitation policies impact recidivism, inmates’ and their families’ quality of life, public safety, and prison security, transparency and accountability. Yet many policies are inaccessible to visitors and researchers. Given the wide-ranging effects of visitation, it is important to understand the landscape of visitation policies and then, where possible, identify best practices and uncover policies that may be counterproductive or constitutionally infirm. Comparative analysis of the sort we have undertaken will, we hope, not only inform academics but empower regulators and administrators of prisons to implement thoughtful reforms.”

According to the New Haven Register some prison officials read the report and compared visitation policies in other states against their own. And, so far two states, Washington and Utah, implemented visitation policy reforms. Prison Visitation Policies: A Fifty State Survey was not created to be critical of any state’s visitation policy, but the report includes some policies that seem to be ill-conceived, or contrary to the successful reunification of families. Click here to go to website.

The report has opened up discussions on best practices regarding prison visitation, and has correction officials, legislators, prison reform advocates, and prisoners and their families voicing their opinions on what can be done to improve, or promote, visitation policies in every state.

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