Extended Visiting

The Extended Visiting (EV) evaluation was a collaborative project with the Minnesota Department of Corrections at the Minnesota Correctional Facility – Shakopee (MCF – Shakopee). The EV program is available to mothers incarcerated at MCF-Shakopee and their minor children. EV differs from regular visiting at the facility in the length, amount of physical contact mothers and children are able to have, location, and provision of activities. The aim of this study was to evaluate the existing EV program. Specifically, we sought to identify benefits and barriers to participation in EV, as well as to compare participants’ experiences with EV to their experiences with regular visits offered at the facility. To accomplish these aims, we conducted semi-structured interviews with incarcerated mothers who had participated in EV with their child[ren] as well as interviews with the children’s caregiver outside of prison (e.g., grandma, dad, etc). We found that mothers and caregivers were overwhelmingly supportive of EV and preferred EV to regular visiting. Specific benefits of EV include providing an opportunity to build and maintain a mother-child relationship during the mother’s incarceration, being able to have unlimited physical contact with children, motivation, privacy of the visiting scenario relative to regular visits, gaining support from other mothers and children, and personal growth.

Selected Publications

Schubert, E. C., Duininck, M., & Shlafer, R. J. (2016). Visiting mom: A pilot evaluation of a prison-based visiting program serving incarcerated mothers and their minor children. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 55(4), 213-234.

Shlafer, R. & Casey, E. (2014). A Pilot Program Evaluation of Extended Visiting at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee. Full Report.