Just as Good as the Real Thing? The Effects of Prison Video Visitation on Recidivism [2020]

While research has consistently shown that in-person prison visitation is associated with reduced recidivism, much less is known about the effects of video visits. This study compares recidivism outcomes between 885 inmates who had at least one video visit and a matched comparison group of 885 who did not receive a virtual visit. Video visits reduced two measures of recidivism (general and felony reconvictions) but did not have a significant effect on the other two measures (violent reconviction and technical violation revocations). As the number of video visits increased, so did the size of the recidivism reduction, at least for general and felony reoffending. Despite the generally favorable impact on recidivism, video visitation was used sparingly by Minnesota’s prison population.

Grant Duwe, Susan McNeeley
Crime & Delinquency, July 13, 2020