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Crime and punishment - Essay Example

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Summary
Prisons in many cases are located in rural areas, long distances away from urban life. The study by Johnna Christian was aimed at bridging the knowledge gap with respect to families’ management of…
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Riding the Bus by Dr. Johnna Christian Introduction There are several consequences of incarceration, some of which are unintended. Prisons in many cases are located in rural areas, long distances away from urban life. The study by Johnna Christian was aimed at bridging the knowledge gap with respect to families’ management of prison visiting (Christian 31). More specifically, the objective of the study was to establish the process of prison visit from the perspective of family members. Yet again, the study was specifically aimed at establishing the barriers that family members have to overcome in order to pay visits to their loved ones in prisons.
How the Study was done
Christian’s study was ethnographic in nature. The study involved observation of families as they travel to various New York prisons to visit their loved ones. The study also involved observation of family members during family support group meetings for prisoners’ families and related activities for a period of 200 hours (Christian 35). In addition, the study involved open-ended interviews with prisoners’ family members. The interviews featured 19 family members with the samples comprising girlfriends, wives, one brother, and mothers (Christian 35).
The Main Findings of the Study
The study established that many prisoners are never visited by their family members for a variety of reasons. Some of the main reasons behind this trend include financial constraints, distance between home and prison, severed or strained relationships with the person incarcerated, and issues related to prison bureaucracy. As such, the study reveals that visiting a prisoner involves the expenditure of finance, time, energy, and other resources (Christian 44).
The study established that the family members that visit their loved ones in prison do so for a variety of reason including: to provide moral support to the prisoner; to watch over the prison system against mistreating prisoners; to secure hope for a different future (parole), and to provide basic needs to the prisoners (Christian 40-44).
The study further established that the relationships between prisoners and their family members are fluid and change over time. The research reveals that incarceration has unintended consequences on families as some people end up severing their relations with prisoners (Christian, 46). The relations are also affected due to the high demands associated with prison visits. Yet another factor that affects families’ visits relate to their relationship with the prisoner before incarceration and the prisoner’s efforts toward self rehabilitation.
Conclusion
Christian’s study which was aimed at establishing how families manage prison visits with respect to their loved ones involved two main methods of study; observation and open-ended interviews. A sample of 19 family members was interviewed and their responses documented. Observation of family members with imprisoned relatives during support group meetings and activities were also noted. The study established that relations between family members and their incarcerated loved ones change over time for a myriad of reasons. Some of the constraints that lead to such changes result from factors such as time, finance, and prison demands on visiting families, and the overall cost of maintaining contact with the prisoners.
Works Cited
Christian Johnna. Riding the Bus: Barriers to Prison Visitation and family management Strategies. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, Vol.21 No.1 pp31-48. 2005. Print. Read More
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