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Minnesota study: The effects of prison visitation on offender recidivism

By the Minnesota Department of Corrections, November 2011

The Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) recently completed a study that examined the effects of prison visitation on offender recidivism. Using an average follow-up period of nearly five years, the study evaluated the relationship between prison visitation and recidivism among 16,420 offenders released from Minnesota prisons between 2003 and 2007.


  • Offenders who were visited in prison were significantly less likely to recidivate. The reductions in recidivism were:
  • 13 percent for a felony re-conviction
  • 25 for re-incarceration for a technical violation revocation
  • Nearly 40 percent of the offenders were not visited once while in prison.
  • Visits from siblings, in-laws, fathers and clergy were the most beneficial in lowering recidivism.
  • The frequency with which inmates were visited had a significant effect on recidivism.
  • Inmates visited more often were less likely to recidivate.
  • Visits closer to an offender’s release date had a greater impact on reducing recidivism.
  • The larger an offender’s social support system, the lower the risk for recidivism.
  • The total number of different individual visitors an offender had was significantly associated with less recidivism. 

Click here to read the full report.


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