Staying in touch with friends and family members while incarcerated has a positive impact on those in our care and helps them stay focused on reentry. Incarcerated individuals may choose to maintain contact with loved ones through writing letters and making phone calls. However, there is one method for connecting that is proven to be especially encouraging for residents: in-person visitation. While the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated suspension of in-person visitation for many correctional systems to protect the health and safety of staff and incarcerated individuals, visitation today has been largely restored to reflect pre-pandemic protocols.
Here are eight reasons showing why visitation is important for residents, their loved ones, and correctional environments.
1. Morale Boost
Visiting with loved ones during visitation is encouraging to those in our care. The smiles and laughter shared with children and other family members is uplifting to both loved ones and staff members.
2. Thinking Outside the Facility
Visitation reminds residents there is more life to live outside incarceration. It helps them stay focused on setting goals and building a future with their loved ones again, especially as they work toward reentry.
3. Connecting with Children
Family reunification is an important part of reentry. Many facilities provide toys and games for children to play with while visiting a parent or grandparent. The opportunity to interact with children in a healthy and playful way is critical for both the incarcerated individual and the child to maintain connection.4. Seeing is Believing
When family and friends attend visitation, they witness firsthand that their loved one is safe and well.
5. Best Behavior
Residents who routinely participate in visitation tend to be more disciplined and better equipped to avoid potential roadblocks to their reentry.
6. A Break in Routine
The prospect of visitation adds variety to the resident's schedule and enhances the overall mood.
7. A Fresh Perspective
During visitation, facility employees have the opportunity to see residents interacting with loved ones. This can give staff a fresh perspective on an individual's family situation. At the same time, family members and friends get to interact with staff, which helps them understand employees' important role in maintaining safety for all.
8. Success Upon Reentry
Visitation is an important part of reentry. By maintaining bonds with friends and family members during incarceration, individuals are more likely to be successful when they leave our care.