There has been a lot of controversy on conjugal visits for prisoners. Some people feel that inmates are entitled to this right while others are against it. But have you ever stopped and asked yourself the benefits of conjugal visits to the prisoners. I believe they are human just like everyone else and have the right to spend some time with their families. As a matter of fact, it may actually do them good and motivate them to reform much faster. Many people value and love their families. For this reason, getting the chance to be with them will definitely be a great experience. All said and done, conjugal visits may have their demerits and may not work in all cases.
1. Strengthens family bonds. A number of families break when either parent is imprisoned. When children are involved, they will need to spend some time with their parents. This is what conjugal visits are all about. The inmates get to spend time with their loved ones.
2. It encourages good behavior. In the states where conjugal visits are allowed, the inmates have to be on their best behavior before they can get this privilege. Any form of misconduct is an automatic ticket to being disqualified.
3. Reduces violence. The fact that the inmates get to see their loved ones makes them more happy and obedient to the rules. They are less likely to result in violence out of frustrations or because they have nothing to look forward to. Besides, good behavior such as avoiding violence will help them become eligible for conjugal visits.
4. It makes the prison environments safer for inmates. Basically, many of the prisoners especially those serving long jail terms will want to qualify for the conjugal visits. In this case, most of them avoid getting involved in things like violence, terrorizing each other, using drugs, and fights. This makes prisons safer.
5. Reduces cases of sexual violence in prison. There is a lot of sexual violence that is either reported or goes unreported in the prisons of states which don’t allow conjugal visits. Keep in mind, even when they are behind bars, the inmates are still human beings. For this reason, they may result in sexual violence and contact with fellow inmates just to satisfy their urges.
6. The inmates can maintain their roles as husbands or wives. This is very important for the family. A man doesn’t have to stop being a husband when imprisoned. The same goes for a woman.
7. Enhances post-release success. Since the inmates can maintain ties with his/her families, it will be easier to fit in with the family upon release from prison. Furthermore, the family will still be intact.
8. Reduces the rates of re-offending prisoners. Prisoners who keep in contact with their families will be less compelled to commit another crime once released from prison.
9. The visits are not usually between the couples but include an extended family. The visits are for the entire family and this includes children and any other person who is part of the family.
10. The family can engage in some activities. There are board games, a fully functional kitchen, and pretty much anything that will be required to make the visit a success.
1. Increases the number of single parents. Despite the fact that there are contraceptives provided, more and more women still manage to fall pregnant. They end up raising the child alone and this may not be a good thing.
2. A lot of money is involved. The state uses a lot of the taxpayer’s money to make conjugal visits a success. For instance, there are associated costs for staff that have to escort the inmates to the visitation facilities and so on.
3. Safety concerns. As much as it’s a family affair, you can’t tell what will happen next. There is usually no supervision in the visitation facility and hence anything can happen.
4. Some inmates are excluded from the program. You have to meet a certain level of discipline in order to be eligible for conjugal visits. In this case, some prisoners are often excluded from citing safety concerns.
5. Increased prison contrabands. The outside people who come to the prisons for conjugal visits may smuggle in illegal items and even drugs. There are usually increased cases of contrabands in prisons as a result of conjugal visits.
6. The risk of sexually transmitted diseases. There is always the risk of transmitting diseases such as HIV/AIDS among couples. This is because sexual activity is permitted.
7. The prisoners are subjected to humiliating strip searches. This may be nothing new to inmates but they have to be strip-searched before and after the visitation. They are also piss tested for drugs and alcohol.
8. The visits are interrupted from time to time. While it’s supposed to be alone time with the family, the normal prison processes are still maintained. For instance, during the daily counts, they are called out so that they are accounted for.
9. Potential for escape attempts. A number of inmates take conjugal visits as an opportunity to plan escapes. For this reason, some states decided to discontinue this program.
10. At times, they are not effective. Some prisoners will only be on their good behavior to earn this right and not because they really want to change for the better.