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Family Ties During Imprisonment: Do They Influence Future Criminal Activity?

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 52 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1988) Pages: 48-52
C F Hairston
Date Published
5 pages
Five empirical studies of the relationship between inmate-family ties during incarceration and postrelease success, reported in the post-1970's literature, indicate that maintenance of family and community ties is positively related to better parole outcomes, fewer disciplinary infractions, and lower recidivism.
A number of conceptual frameworks provide a possible explanation for these findings. The availability of outside social support networks may provide practical, social, and psychological resources that aid readjustment. In addition, family relationships provide opportunities for nurturing and sustain morale and a sense of security and well-being. They also provide reassurance of worth and attest to the individual's competence in a social role. Both primary and secondary social networks protect individuals from stress and foster personal adjustment. The notion that family services may reduce recidivism is appealing. Families constitute a large resource base and are relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of imprisonment. The number of family programs is growing. Such programs include parent education, counseling, self-help, and transportation and lodging programs. However, little is known about the relative effectiveness of these programs in reducing recidivism. In addition to changes in correctional policies and practices, the development of a conceptual framework and evaluative research are needed if such programs are to have a significant impact. 16 references.