The Extended Visiting evaluation is a collaborative project with the Department of Corrections at 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.
Casey, E. C., Duininck, M., & Shlafer, R. J. Extended Visiting for Incarcerated Mothers and the Children: Mothers’ and Caregivers’ Perspectives of Program Participation. Talk within paper symposium Children’s Visits with Incarcerated Parents: Implications for Intervention and Policy presented at the 2015 biennial Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) conference.