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Evaluation of a Visitation Program at a Canadian Penitentiary

NCJ Number
The Prison Journal Volume: 88 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2008 Pages: 300-327
Heather E. Duncan; Shelly Balbar
Date Published
June 2008
28 pages
This study examined the outcome of the visitation program at a Canadian penitentiary, focusing on benefits to inmates, to the volunteers, and to the institution and providing recommendations for future directions of the program.
The visitation program was held in high regard and perceived as a benefit to inmates by all groups of stakeholders interviewed. The institute staff considered the programs to be efficiently organized, information communicated readily, and no threat was posed to institute security. Prior research suggests that person-to-person visitation programs may help offenders to maintain connections to the outside world, continue to practice role continuance, and ultimately reintegrate in the community more successfully. Funded by Correctional Service of Canada, this study explored the benefits and detractors from a visitation program at a Canadian penitentiary. The study focused on benefits to male inmates, volunteers, and the institution and on recommendations for future directions for the program. The visitation program was developed and initiated in 1974 by the Mennonite Church. The program is aimed at forming friendships between volunteer Christian community members and inmates. In more than 30 years of operation, the program has never been formally evaluated. The results provide guidance for the future of other prisoner visitation programs. Table, references


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