New York State’s Family Reunion Program is Positive, Emotionally Nurturing and Reinforces Family Bonding

  • Humanitarian reasons: A prison sentence means the loss of liberty, not the desolation of family ties.
  • The incarcerated person’s well-being: Visits are important markers for prisoners, often providing a much needed ‘boost’.
  • For the incarcerated person, visits from family and friends mitigates against becoming institutionalised, supports positive behavior and overall social and emotional well being.
  • Visiting helps family (children especially) to understand what prison is like for their loved one and can provide emotional comfort for the traumatic experience of separation. Often it’s not as bad as children have been imagining and myths are often dispelled.
  • Prison visits make it more likely that the family remains intact. This means that when the incarcerated person is released he/she is better able to integrate into society.
  • Visits allow the incarcerated person, albeit temporarily, to maintain their role as father/mother/son/daughter/husband/wife. It is an important reminder that they are more than their incarceration/ circumstance.
  • Maintaining family ties through visits is a cost-effective way to reduce recidivism.
  • Visits keep families together and potentially prevent family-breakdown by building and sustaining more meaningful relationships and help keep support structures in place for when the person returns home to their community.
  • Visits and the maintenance of family ties can help prevent the intergenerational cycle of incarceration.
  • Studies have consistently found that prisoners who maintain close contact with their family members while incarcerated have better post-release outcomes and lower recidivism rates.




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Alliance of Families for Justice

Alliance of Families for Justice

AFJ is powered by and for the families of incarcerated New Yorkers and allies across the state.

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