houseCanadian federal prisons have a few houses on their premises for some inmates to spend time with their families. These houses are just like a normal house. A wife or a husband shows up at the prison on a Thursday afternoon. She’s got enough groceries for three days or so. Guards inspect her purchases and clear her to go to one of the two houses. Soon her husband joins her. The kids are happy to see their father.

The family is the basic unit of our society. The prison system does the right thing, in my opinion, by reuniting families like this. The trouble is that there are about 300 to 400 prisoners and two houses. After each family visit, another inmate’s job is to be sure the house is clean and ready for the next family. A man has to follow the institutional rules in order to win a chance to use these houses.

I’m not familiar with other prison systems as to whether they have personal family visits or not. I don’t think the USA does. In some cases, it seems to me, that a family visit would help an inmate or a wife or husband who is having trouble adapting.

This kind of family visit also helps the partner who lives in the community and has to care for the kids. There’s a prison saying – The man gets the sentence and the woman lives

What is your opinion of this kind of family visit?

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  1. Sounds like a good idea to me, Ed. Such visits, I imagine, help the person incarcerated emotionally and this probably pays off in a number of ways, one of which would be the person’s desire to get out asap, hence improved behaviour inside. Most of all, though, I think it’s the good effect on the person’s mental health that matters most.

  2. Joanne says:

    I’m all for them. When families are able to take advantage of this it is a great thing. Unfortunately, like everything else in the system, there are so many hurdles to get there, that many families simply give up. Still, for those who do get them, it is a way to get away from prison for a few days and focus on family and what is really important in life.

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