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Prisoner-family ties during imprisonment: Reassessing resettlement outcomes and the role of visitation

McCarthy, Daniel and Brunton-Smith, Ian (2017) Prisoner-family ties during imprisonment: Reassessing resettlement outcomes and the role of visitation Prison Service Journal (233). pp. 23-27.

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Prison life can be hard time for both those serving time and for their families on the outside. Prisoners who maintain ties with family members during their sentence can often see their relationships tested by the physical isolation and social strains which imprisonment brings and the value of a family support network for prisoners has been recognised across a number of prison service policies.1 Successive studies have shown that familial ties are important for prisoners as a mode of social support during their sentence, as a motivation to behave inside prison in order to improve their chances of early-release, as well as for resettlement outcomes including finding accommodation, desisting from drug use, and reducing reoffending risk.2 Despite these important positive outcomes, few studies have sought to understand what actually happens to prisonerfamily relationships across the course of a sentence. During any prison sentence a lot can happen to an offender, whether it be anxiety adapting to a sentence, victimisation, loss of privileges, or a host of other events which may impact on the overall experience of confinement. These experiences no doubt are dynamic and open to change, not least because some prisoners are able to adapt to their sentence more effectively than others.3 They also have obvious implications for ties with family. For the families of offenders too, life paths may change—family members may die, new romantic relations may be developed, and children may be born. Taking stock of these factors, policy makers require a clearer insight into whether or not prisoner–family ties change during a prison sentence, and what the implications of these changes are for resettlement outcomes such as reoffending, drug use after release, and chances of gaining employment.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : September 2017
Copyright Disclaimer : Crown Copyright 2017
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 20 Dec 2017 15:17
Last Modified : 23 Feb 2018 12:39

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