Maria Berghuis in EditieNL about PhD thesis: 'Prison visits are form of social control'
Prisoners who have little or no contact with the outside world are more prone to reoffend. What makes visits so important?
Prisoners who receive regular visits from family and friends are less likely to reoffend after their release, Maria Berghuis' PhD thesis shows. Berghuis told Dutch news site EditieNL about her research. ‘I see indications that the visit works like a form of social control. If your mother visits you regularly, you want to show her you’re doing fine and doing your best'.
Another theory that emerges from the research is that prisoners retain a better sense of identity when they can continue to see people from their home environment. ‘Then they don't get the label 'prisoner', they’re still just “Pete”.’ Maintaining and preserving a social network also ensures that prisoners have a base to fall back on when they’re released. ‘People who visit might also want to help you. So it might be easier for you to find accommodation or work in the short term.’