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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 217636 Find in a Library
Title: Communication Policy Changes in State Adult Correctional Facilities From 1971 to 2005
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:32  Issue:1  Dated:March 2007  Pages:47-64
Author(s): Heath C. Hoffmann; George E. Dickinson; Chelsea L. Dunn
Date Published: March 2007
Page Count: 18
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study documented State correctional institutions' policies regarding inmates' correspondence, visitation, and telephoning between 1971 and 2005.
Abstract: The findings show a trend toward prison visitation becoming more restrictive. Between 1971 and 2005, there was a consistent decline in the number of facilities that permitted visitation 365 days a year (from 48 percent to 19 percent); however, prisons are apparently attempting to offer flexible visitation schedules in terms of the number of days that visitation is allowed in a week. There has been no consistent trend in the conditions under which inmates and their visitors interact. Regarding mail correspondence, prisons seem to have dropped their requirement that inmates sign a form that authorizes prison authorities to open and inspect their mail. Most facilities simply inform inmates of their policies regarding mail inspection. Nearly all facilities inspect incoming mail, based in an effort to prevent contraband from coming into the prison. Outgoing mail tends to be spot-checked. Regarding inmates' use of telephones, the trend is toward giving inmates liberal access to telephones for relatively long periods of conversation; however, correctional facilities have stopped paying for inmates' telephone calls. In 2005, 84 percent of the institutions reported monitoring phone calls to some extent; nearly 70 percent of institutions always record inmates' phone calls. One of the most dramatic changes in communications is in Internet and e-mail correspondence. Although all facilities prohibit inmates from using the Internet or sending e-mails, inmates indirectly use the Internet by submitting their biographies to prison "pen-pal" Web sites through friends and family or third parties who are sympathetic to inmates' rights. Data were obtained through mailed surveys to State correctional facilities for adults in maximum-security institutions in 1971, 1981, 1991, and 2005. 3 tables, 50 references, and appended questionnaire
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Inmate visits; Prison management; Prisoner's rights; Telephone communications
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