Conjugal Visits in the Prison Systems
The visits are categorized into two: sexual conjugal visits; which are visits by spouses for sexual purposes usually to fulfil the inmates’ conjugal rights and social conjugal visits; which is whereby inmates are visited by their children, family member or even friends while they serve their time in prison. This is mainly to maintain family ties and preserve marriages for the inmates. It serves as an encouragement to those in prison that their family members and children care about them, hence aiding in reducing hostility among the inmates. Conjugal visits in the prison system throughout American have been controversial of whether they are beneficial to those in custody or not. In history, these visits have proven to be very successful in hindering sexual assault cases in the correctional system.
Later on, small houses which were referred to as the “red houses” were built where the conjugal visits would take place privately (Hopper, 1962, 341). There were also small rooms with toys for children who came to visit their parents in prison as well as dining halls for temporary vacations which were made available for the inmates. The Parchman plantation eventually turned into what is now known as the Mississippi State Penitentiary and set the tone for conjugal visits in the whole of America, influencing prisons to allow inmates to have physical contact with their spouses in prison. The inmates in Parchman find the conjugal visits very favourable (Hopper, 1962, 342). Some of the convicts gave their views on conjugal visits saying that it has greatly cut down cases of homosexuality especially to the married inmates.
A story is told of a supervisor of a hotel in Mexico, who in the spirit of honouring the family customs of the Mexicans, gave his assistant cook a day off so that she could go and visit her husband who was in a local Bastill (Cavan and Zemans, 1958, 137). This means that the family institution is a very important part of the Mexican culture and should be respected, this example goes a long way in supporting the reason why marital visits are highly encouraged in their prisons. In Pakistan and India, a different approach to the marital visits is carried out. Specific types of inmates are given an opportunity to live with their invited family members in the custodial grounds (Cavan and Zemans, 1958, 137).
They also allow spouses to have physical relations in the prisons. Other people argue that it is part of the human rights and thus no one should be denied any right. Therefore causing a conflict of interest between punishment and acknowledgement of human rights (Anamika &Anupal, 2015, 85). Convicts are entitled to enjoy certain rights in spite the fact that they have been convicted of an offence. Such necessary rights include the right to life. This right involves breeding of species whereby conjugation is important (Anamika & Anupal, 2015, 76). Conjugal visits have proven to have solved so many problems in the correctional centres. Some of these advantages include; the reduction of the frequency of riots in the prisons. (Clinton T. Duffy Most, 1962, 12) of the prison riots arise especially among the male inmates due to indiscipline and misconduct.
However, the introduction of conjugal visits has been able to reduce these riots by a big margin. This advantage is realized indirectly through the maintenance of the family ties. A study shows that those inmates who have a chance to maintain their family bond while in prison, have a higher chance for restoration as compared to those who do not have these ties. (Hopper, 1962, 342). When such prisoners who have had constant family visitation is finally released, he or she has a better chance of reuniting with their family and leading a good life thereafter Conjugal visitations have also enabled inmates to maintain their families and avoid separation and divorce while he or she is in jail. This has been possible due to the regular visitations in the prisons.
In some cases, children are born after a parent has been sent to prison and in such a case, these visitations are very necessary as the children get to meet their parent and know them. Hence after the term in prison is over and the parents can finally unite with their children, it would be a smooth transition for them as they will not be strangers to each other. Despite all these advantages of conjugal visits, there are several cons to it that do not allow the visits to be made legal in all the prisons around the world. First and foremost, since conjugal visits are only allowed to married inmates, the single or unmarried inmates tend to feel discriminated (Anamika &Anupal, 2015, 87).
This may cause havoc in the prison centres since the unmarried inmates feel that they ought to feel sexually satisfied too. Conjugal visits whether social or sexual provide an opportunity for the inmates to smuggle items into the prison centres (McShane & Williams, 1996). This is made possible by the limited supervision by the correctional guards. However much they may be searched before and after the interaction some of them manage to smuggle in substances like drugs, knives and other materials that may be harmful to the inmate as well as their fellow inmates in prison. Such scenarios become a hindrance to the conjugal visits for the inmates. Providing the facilities for the conjugal visitations is also a setback to the success of these visitations.
Despite the fact that they are quite helpful to both inmates and family members, they are also a burden to them in terms of finances involved in travelling to and from the prisons as well as time spent to travel to the correctional centres (McShane & Williams, 1996). A lot of energy is also required whenever such visits are granted. This is therefore seen as more harmful to the wives and children as compared to its advantage. Single inmates wishing to be granted conjugal rights may hire women who are not their wives under the constitution so that they can also have an opportunity to fulfil their sexual wants (McShane & Williams, 1996). However, this is illegal. During conjugal visits, innocent spouses are consequently infected by their partners who might have acquired the disease while in prison.
Thus endangering their lives. The second scenario is whereby, spouses who are free engage in sexual relations with infected people who are not their partners thus contracting the disease. The major contributor of such behaviour being loneliness and solitude (McShane & Williams, 1996). During visits, therefore, these spouses infect their partners in the corrective centres with the disease. This is to ensure the safety of those visiting them as well as the correctional officers. In addition, these visits should be granted to those inmates who have an opportunity to be released to the society as compared to those serving many years in jail or life imprisonment. This the most realistic way of grating conjugal visits. In conclusion, the policy of permitting conjugal visitations remains controversial.
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