GHN News Editor – “By signing this petition, you are acknowledging that families and
marriages are sacred and should be allowed to continue to grow and
remain healthy despite incarceration.”
was set up this year and ended not long ago because out of 10,000
signatures requested only 406 were obtained for prisoners to receive
Last year Australia correctional officials maintained conjugal prison
visits to be able to reduce recidivism. Corrections Minister John
Hargreaves said this is good policy in that it helps prisoners maintain family relationships.
Hargreaves said, “One of the biggest problems of avoiding recidivism,
is the restoration of the relationship between a prisoner and his
partner when they come out,” he said. “If in fact that relationship on
an emotional level is maintained throughout the period of incarceration,
then we will actually have restored that family.”
The fact is, however, few prisons in the United States allow conjugal
visits despite the fact that many people in corrections believe it helps
rehabilitation prisoners and reduces recidivism. Those that do allow
conjugal visits have strict conditions for doing so.
Mississippi allows conjugal visits but only for married couples.
Inmates must have an acceptable behavioral rating and be in a minimum
custody status.California allows both homosexual and heterosexual conjugal visits. These visits came after a lawsuit emphasizing equal rights for homosexuals that included of sex with partners in prison. This is in spite of the fact that Proposition 8 in California prohibited gay marriage at the time of the ruling.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons does not permit conjugal visits.
Human rights activists consider the family bond important and encourage prisons to adopt rules for conjugal visits.
Interestingly enough, it isn’t necessarily the more liberal or
permissive cultures that are on the front lines of allowing inmates to
have sex with spouses in prison. Conjugal visits are allowed in Saudi
Arabia but not in England, Scotland and Ireland. In Brazil conjugal
visits are allowed for both homosexuals and heterosexuals. Mexico City has the same rules.
In Israel the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin fathered a child in prison as a consequence of Israel’s allowing conjugal visits.
Mike Farrell, long-time advocate of prison reform, maintains conjugal visits should be allowed as part of humane treatment. But does it reduce recidivism?
According to experts, conjugal visits have mixed results. Some believe
the costs outweigh the benefits but most believe the practice helps the
family and reduces recidivism. Research at Florida State University found “visitation reduces and delays recidivism.”