U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

The Effects of Prison Visits From Community Volunteers on Offender Recidivism

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 96 Issue: 2 Dated: 2016 Pages: 279-303
Grant Duwe; Byron R. Johnson
Date Published
25 pages

This paper examines the effects of prison visitation by community volunteers, such as clergy and mentors; the authors note that visitation was associated with reduced recidivism rates and the beneficial effects grew as the proportion of visits increased.


Research has shown that prison visitation is associated with reduced recidivism. The authors of this study analyze whether visits from community volunteers (CVs)—specifically, clergy and mentors—had an impact on recidivism, by examining 836 offenders released from Minnesota prisons. The results show that CV visits significantly reduced all three measures of reoffending but had no impact on technical violation revocations. The authors report that the salutary effect on recidivism grew as the proportion of CV visits to all visits increased. The findings suggest CV visits should be conceptualized as a programming resource to be used with higher risk offenders who lack social support. Publisher Abstract Provided