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Impact of Family Visitation on Incarcerated Youth's Behavior and School Performance: Findings From the Families as Partners Project

NCJ Number
Sandra Villalobos Agudelo
Date Published
April 2013
6 pages
This report presents the findings and methodology of the evaluation of an Ohio program (Families as Partners) that aimed to promote better outcomes for incarcerated youths by encouraging visits and correspondence with their families, as well as increasing family involvement in the youths' treatment and reentry plans.
The evaluation found that family visitation of incarcerate youth was associated with improved behavior and school performance. Youth who were never visited had statistically significant higher behavioral incident rate compared to youth who were visited infrequently or youth who received regular visits. Youth who were visited regularly committed an average of 4 behavioral incidents per month, compared to 6 among those visited infrequently and 14 among those who were never visited. Regarding school performance, the average grade point averages (GPAs) for youth who never had a visitor was 80.4, compared to 82 for those who had infrequent visits and 85 for those who had frequent visits. These differences were statistically significant. Associations between family visitation and incarcerated youths' behavior and school performance were examined by matching self-reported survey data with administrative. In June 2012, evaluation staff visited each of Ohio's four juvenile correctional facilities and asked youth to complete a survey. Approximately half (290 of 581) of incarcerated youth in these facilities participated in the survey. The sample was representative of the DYS population. The majority of the sample were male, Black, and with an average age of 16.9 years. The average time spent incarcerated was 10 months. The survey asked participants about family contacts by phone, letters, and visitation, as well perceptions of family support. Visitation frequency varied by race, with White youth being visited more frequently than non-White youth; however, these differences were not statistically significant. 3 figures and 13 notes