The Urban Institute just released a white paper focusing on parent-child visitation when parents are in jail or prison.
“Research on the effectiveness of different types of visits is limited, but many experts believe that
contact visits conducted in supportive, safe, and child-friendly environments are likely the best option
to help most families mitigate the harmful effects of parental incarceration. Further, a growing body of
research supports the use of contact visits, which allow children to see that parents are safe and healthy
while in prison or jail (Tasca et al. 2016). Spending time together as a family through play, conversation,
or sharing a meal can also help mitigate children’s feelings of abandonment and anxiety (Hairston 2007).
Parents and children can use these activities to work on existing relationships, establish new bonds, or
repair strained relationships (Hairston 2007; Tasca et al. 2016). This type of relationship building can
help children feel more attached to their parents and benefitvtheir well-being, emotional adjustment, selfesteem,
and school behavior (Arditti 2008; Fraser 2011; Poehlmann et al. 2010; Sack and Seidler 1978).”