Cross-tabulation of parole difficulties and prisoners’ communication with family and friends (written correspondence and visits) for prisoners in the California Dept. Corrections about 1970.
Social-scientific study of the effects of prisoners’ communication with friends and family has been meager. One of the best available social-scientific studies covers 391 prisoners in the California Department of Corrections about 1970. ^ It provides cross-tabulations of prisoners’ communication with family and friends and subsequent parole difficulties.
The data from the study consistently show that greater communication with family and friends is associated with fewer subsequent criminal-justice problems upon release on parole. For example, among prisoners who received in-person visits from four persons, only 2% subsequently experienced serious parole difficulties. The corresponding figure for prisoners receiving no personal correspondence (letters) and no visitors was 12%. For the category no parole difficulties, 66% of prisoners receiving four visitors had no parole difficulties and 50% of prisoners receiving no visitors and no personal correspondence had no parole difficulties.
Social-scientific study of the effects of prisoners’ communication with family and friends typically has focused on narrow effects of prisoners’ communication. A wide range of evidence indicates, however, that prisoners’ communication is broadly relevant to the functioning of the criminal justice system.
- communication & parole: number and percent of prisoners experiencing none, minor, and serious subsequent parole difficulties cross-tabulated against prisoner receiving no correspondence and no visitors, correspondence only, one visitor, two visitors, three visitors, or four visitors