Maine Department of Corrections announced its intention to eliminate the existing policy of allowing contact visits in county jails. The Maine DOC has not taken any significant steps jails going against policy which allows in-person visits every two weeks. County jails have continue to disobey the policy.
Contrary to their belief, changing the prison visits policy will not disrupt the flow of drugs into county jails. According to Daily Bulldog, this would not improve safety in jails.
This is because a greater percentage of drugs found in jails do not get in through visitors. The DOC’s decision of changing the policy and not allowing contact visits in county jails means it is no longer adhering to its promise to ensure best practices in county jails in Maine.
5 Disadvantages of Eliminating Contact Visits
Why prison loved ones should be concerned about authorities not allowing contact visits in county jails:
- Imprisonment costs: Multiple studies have shown that contact visits help to significantly reduce the number and percentage of repeat offenders. This means reduction in incarcerations, ultimately reducing the need to continually increase county jail budgets. Such can sometimes be more than the cost of public education.
- Community safety: Several studies have shown that sustained relationship with friends and family through contact visits reduces recidivism. It also helps to improve their social lives when they finally get out of jail. This will reduce the crime rates, meaning less victims and lesser incarcerations.
- Prison safety: Contact visits serve as a motivation for inmates to stay in the best of characters. Only inmates obedient to jail policies are allowed in-person jail visits. Disobedience means that the inmate will have only video or non-contact visits. Often, prisons that remove this incentive witness surges in violence or assaults on other inmates or correctional officers.
- Impact on children: Having a parent in prison can be as disturbing to a child’s life as divorce or death. Allowing children to stay in touch with their parents through contact visits has positive effects on their mental health and improves the chances of succeeding in life. This helps to put an end to the school to prison pipeline in America.
- Mental health: Mental health issue is a common problem amidst inmates, with up to 70 percent suffering from various diagnoses. Eliminating contact visits will only aggravate their mental health issues. Allowing contact visits in county jails helps inmates with mental health issues cope with life better.
Allowing Contact Visits in County Jails is the Right Thing to Do
It is important that taxpayers and members of the community strongly oppose such policies… not just because it is inhumane, but also because of safety concerns and pocketbooks. Allowing contact visits in county jails is best for the inmates, their loved ones and the public as a whole.