Most of us assume that prison life precludes any private contact between inmates and their significant others. After all, that's one of the penalties of going to prison. But then what about conjugal visits? The term has an old-fashioned ring to it, evoking images of prisoners' wives sneaking into the big house while the guards turn a blind eye. But conjugal visits actually do take place in a handful of states as a means to preserve family relationships during the period of incarceration. In our society there are many who agree that conjugal visits are good for prisoners and his or her significant other(s). It is believed that conjugal visits leads to strong family bonds and keeps families functional rather than having the family deal with the dysfunctional side of the relationship due to the lack of sexual contact. Providing prisoners with normal family relations including conjugal rights will (1) somewhat counteract the pain of imprisonment, (2) ease frustration among prisoners, (3) strengthen family ties and (4) encourage normal sexual patterns for married inmates. On the other side of this topic there are a few that would agree that conjugal visits can only lead to bad things. Physical safety is one of the main problems with this type of visit. Conjugal visits are often unsupervised which could be a problem for a couple that is dysfunctional. Additional opposition to conjugal would include: (1) only a minority of prisoners are married, (2) the state prisons don't have facilities to use for such a program, (3) this privilege would create jealousy among those prisoners unable or not allowed to participate and (4) spouses might be embarrassed by the openly sexual nature of the program. It's also clear to me that conjugal visits increase the risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases. (Rodgers)
Logistically, conjugal visits are already high in risk factors and if implemented throughout the country would be a very expensive program. The cost of each...
Cited: Wilkinson, Reginald (1999, May, 12). Prison and Jail Practices. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from Visiting
in Prison Web site: http://www.drc.state.oh.us/WEB/Articles/article46.htm
Rodgers, Patrick (2005,August, 5). Legal Zoom. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from Conjugal Visits: Preserving Family Bonds Behind Bars Web site: http://www.legalzoom.com/legal-articles/Conjugal-Visits-Preserving-family-bonds.html
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