Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Conjugal Visits






Having a significant other or spouse in jail or prison is certainly not the ideal situation for either of the people involved, especially if it is for a lengthy period of time. The struggles these couples face can put serious strains on their relationship. The typical visit in a jail is a short period of time with the people on either side of a glass window talking through phones or “speaker” holes. Prison visits are a little different where they’re often contact visits in a large room for a longer period of time. These visits have to suffice for most couples facing the hardships of maintaining a relationship during the incarceration period. Some prisons in six states offer something known as a conjugal visit for selected inmates. The states include California, Connecticut, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York and Washington. During this visit spouses are allowed to spend time in a private room or apartment for the purposes of sexual relations.

                To many people the concept of a conjugal visit is hard to fathom. Prison is viewed as a punishment for someone who has violated the law and giving them a privilege such as this is looked down upon by society. But conjugal visits did not start out as they are today. Historically these special visits were used as an encouragement for inmates to do their work. Dating back to 1918 these “sex visits” were used as an incentive for productivity. It does not come as a surprise that this system was extremely effective and work was consistently being done.

                Over the last 40 years conjugal visits have transitioned into being used to preserve family bonds. Although they are still used as an incentive for good behavior, the idea behind the modern day conjugal visit is to keep the bonds between spouses strong. It is also suggested that these visits will reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Now, this privilege is not just granted to any inmate that is married. Each of that states that offer conjugal visits has specific requirements the offender must meet in order to be eligible. Some common requirements are that the offender is in a medium or less security prison, have no recent rule violations, and complete a health screening. Likewise, the person who is coming from the outside to a conjugal visit must qualify as well. In addition to being on the inmates approved visitor list, they must show proof of the relationship and pass a background check. 



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11 comments:

  1. I do not see why this should not be allowed to prisoners that meet the qualifications. Yes, they are in prison because they are being punished, but when they behave themselves why can't they spend time with a loved one? I would imagine it is extremely hard to keep a relationship going with someone that is incarcerated and when you have an offender with a wife and children on the outside, I think a big concern would be keeping that family together. If that means letting the couple get it on every now and then then let it be. I agree this should not be granted just to everyone, but I would assume when prisoners have this option they behave themselves a lot better.

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  2. I think this is a good idea. I agree that prisoners should be punished but the majority of them are going to get out and go back to their families. I think its beneficial to keep marriages strong so when these people go back home they can still feel connected to their families and hopefully not reoffend. Also this really isn’t causing anyone harm. Prisoners are already separated from their family and locked in jail. I feel like there’s no reason to not let them spend time with their loved ones. I feel like if I were in prison I would miss spending time with my family the most. Additionally, this privilege could be an incentive from prisoners to behave so they can be rewarded with such a visit.

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  3. I'm glad you posted about this, I am very interested in this topic. In general we as people work harder for an incentive. I know that if I work hard at work, I get good reviews and then receive a bonus. Why wouldn't prisoners work to behave that much harder if they could receiver this option? I think that most would behave, but I'm no expert. When taking a prison tour I noticed that some inmates worked hard and stayed out of trouble to be able to obtain a job in the facility. Life is boring for them and incentives are always a good thing. We are all human even if some of us live behind bars.

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  4. I guess I am going to be the negative commenter on this topic. I think conjugal visits are completely absurd! Prison is meant to be a punishment and a deterrent to commit further crimes. The excuse that imprisonment puts stress on the inmates relationship is pretty weak in my opinion. I would suggest that the prisoner should have thought about the repercussions of his or her actions before he or she committed the crime. Of course it is going to put a strain on your significant other and your extended family! The idea of my tax dollars being spent so that a prisoner can have sex is crazy! In this day of government handouts, I must draw the line at this one. I can't fathom more of my hard earned money being spent to build love shacks for prisoners. I agree visits with family and a spouse are very important, but a prisoners sex life is not my priority. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge proponent of sex! This is one of many reason I choose a life of law following and not law breaking. I would miss my sex too much!

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  5. This article is very interesting but I agree with the idea of conjugal visits. The offender is being punished for the crime they did, not to punish the relationships some inmates may have. As long as the inmates behave, and meet other qualifications, then I don't see an issue with allowing a family to spend intimate time together. I would also stretch that and say it may lead to more behaved inmates hoping they are allowed that intimate time with his or her family. I feel the prison systems of America need to work to better the inmate population and what better then something that will be desired by all inmates?
    great topic!

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  6. First off, this was a very interesting article and I am glad that I had a chance to read it. Personally, I agree with the utilization of conjugal visits. My main reason deals with the fact that I believe that it is a effective deterrent to future crime. If a person that is incarcerated can actively see how them being in jail is negatively affecting their loved ones it might make them think twice about putting themselves in a similar situation in the future after they are released because they do not want to put those people through everything again. In addition, conjugal visits demonstrate to those incarcerated that there are people in their life that will take the time to visit them which might deter them from acting out while in prison/jail because they do not want these visits to be stripped away from the people they care about. Essentially, I believe that the positive aspects of conjugal visits far outweigh the negative consequences which they might bring so they should be utilized.

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  7. I agree with it, but than again I don't. What happens when lifers for example don't have someone to come hump them? They would probably start picking with the inmates they know are getting conjugal visits. Also what about the men who are having sex with other men behind bars and then they are also humping their wife. That is a possibility of STD's, I dont know if that would be safe . Another thing what if that inmate has several different women coming to have conjugal visits with him. That may also have some issues arise as well.

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  8. This topic was great. I am on the side against conjugal visits. Prison is for punishment, depriving them of sex with a female is a good form of punishment. I agree with Erik about not spending more tax dollars on developing love shacks for prisoners. The money could be used for better things.

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  9. This is a good post, I think many people in this "tough on crime" era believe that something like this is going too easy on them. I disagree with that mentality, if you remove the family element, then it's just a person caged up with a bunch of animals. This loss of connection with the family could lead to them becoming institutionalized by taking on the prison lifestyle. Since this is only for medium to low security inmates who have good records, why not let them maintain their family because otherwise they will have nothing when they are released. If the family is there, they will encourage and motivate him to get a job to help support them and turn his life around. Without them, he has nothing but crime.

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