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Just as Good as the Real Thing? The Effects of Prison Video Visitation on Recidivism

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 67 Issue: 4 Dated: 2021 Pages: 475-497
Date Published
23 pages

This article describes a study comparing recidivism outcomes for inmates who received at least one video visit with a control group who did not receive a virtual visit.


While research has consistently shown that in-person prison visitation is associated with reduced recidivism, much less is known about the effects of video visits. This study compares recidivism outcomes between 885 inmates who had at least one video visit and a matched comparison group of 885 who did not receive a virtual visit. Video visits reduced two measures of recidivism (general and felony reconvictions) but did not have a significant effect on the other two measures (violent reconviction and technical violation revocations). As the number of video visits increased, so did the size of the recidivism reduction, at least for general and felony reoffending. Despite the generally favorable impact on recidivism, video visitation was used sparingly by Minnesota’s prison population. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2021