Effects of Prisoner Location on Visitation Patterns
Dr. Audrey Begun, Ohio State University & Dr. Lisa Bostaph, Boise State University
This study explores factors related to visitation patterns for prisoners under Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC). A quantitative data analysis was conducted using a database provided by the ODRC which encompassed visits and demographics on incarcerated prisoners (N=50,551) from 2006 until July 19, 2011. Qualitative analyses depicted a hypothetical visitor’s experience including calculations of transit distances/duration for inmate visits. Hypotheses posited for this study included: (1) there is a negative correlation between travel distances/costs and visitation frequency; (2) inmate relocation to more distant facilities negatively affects visitation patterns; (3) inmate visitation will be greater during early incarceration and immediately prior to release; (4) women receive fewer visits than men due to the smaller number/more centralized locations of women’s facilities. Results show that many inmates had very few visits while a few inmates had many visits. Gender specific analyses indicate significantly more visitors approved, lower security levels, and higher proportion of marriage/significant others among women than men, but no difference in the actual numbers of visits experienced. Tremendous variability exists between institutions in terms of transportation accessibility and visitation policy barriers. Results will be used to raise awareness towards developing strategies to encourage inmate visitation across geographical distances.