Conjugal Visitations in a Prison

Abstract

Prisons are supposed to be correctional institutes that help prisoners improve their deviant behavior and return to society as improved citizens. Conjugal visitations have been a topic of heavy debate for many years and only a few states allow these rights including Mississippi, California, and recently New York. Conjugal visits are an important aspect of serving the initial purpose of a correctional facility because they help strengthen family ties, follow the laws of marital privacy, and are in sync with the purpose of correcting the inhabitants of a prison.

Introduction

Prisons are supposed to be correctional institutes that help prisoners improve their deviant behavior and return to society as improved citizens. Conjugal visitations have been a topic of heavy debate for many years and only a few states allow these rights including Mississippi, California, and recently New York. Conjugal visits are an important aspect of serving the initial purpose of a correctional facility because they help strengthen family ties, follow the laws of marital privacy, and are in sync with the purpose of correcting the inhabitants of a prison.

Body

First, it is important to understand the meaning of the word conjugal in order to understand the importance of conjugal visits. Usually, this term is understood to be only related to sex which is not always true because it is the only aspect of the rights. Conjugal rights are granted to people who are married. These rights include sharing time together, being there for each other in sickness and in health, trusting each other with intimate details of their personal lives, constructing a home, living together, and cooking together. In other words, conjugal rights are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness together as a married couple.

These visits should focus on more than sexual relationships with their significant others and revolve around strengthening family ties. (Wright, 1977) “Maintaining family ties is a very laudable goal that correctional administrators must at the very least try to achieve. Strong family ties are so important in the rehabilitative process and are shown to inhibit recidivism.” (Wright, 1977) The Control theory states that people who have weak bonds and relationships tend to be deviants and that people who have stronger relationships with their families are less likely to deviate. (Leblanc, 1998, p.64) Conjugal visits provide a means to secure strong family ties and help prisoners and detainees from future deviations.

Second, the right of privacy in a marriage has been under discussion in many Supreme Court cases. The government should not interfere with the rights of individuals in a marriage. The Eisenstadt v. Baird case states that married couples are two individuals entitled to the right of privacy and anything that they are free from anything that intrudes upon the freedom to make decisions privately. (Conjugal Visitation Rights, 1974, p. 400)

This was concerning the use of contraceptives in marriage and whether or not it was considered lawful. According to the excerpt from the case above it is a married couple’s private affair whether to conceive or not. “…The central holding of these cases seems to be that married couples have a fundamental right to be free of governmental intrusion into their decision to have sexual relations.” (Conjugal Visitation Rights, 1974, p. 401) This should apply to people who are held in prison pretrial and the “innocent until proven guilty logic should be used” and only “in the case of a notoriously desperate pretrial detainee, complete prohibition may be justified by the danger that the detainee will use the visiting spouse as a hostage in order to escape.” (Conjugal Visitation Rights, 1974, p. 406)

Third, prisons are supposed to be correctional facilities and prisoners should get all the available opportunities to be corrected. “Legislatures are continuously creating laws which are supposed to reduce crime and to make the public feel safe. However, creating statutes that abolish inmate privileges leave correctional officials with volatile prisons that serve as incubators for violence and birthplace of subversive behavior.” (Wright, 1977) Most prisoners only serve short sentences and become a part of society once again in the future. Harsh punishment with no privileges creates more violence. This policy needs to be changed because it defeats the initial purpose of a correctional facility. (Wright, 1977)

Conclusion

In conclusion, the purpose of a correctional facility is fulfilled completely by conjugal visits and the benefits it provides. The aspect of strengthening family ties is the most important benefit of conjugal visits because it is in sync with the control theory that states stronger ties are the reason why people are less likely to deviate. There have been many cases regarding the privacy of marriage and no citizen should be denied that privilege without due cause. Also, the facility should help the prisoner correct his or her activities so that they are better citizens once they return to society. Conjugal visits serve many benefits and should be enacted in every state.

Works Cited

“Conjugal Visitation Rights and the Appropriate Standard of Judicial Review for Prison Regulations.” Michigan Law Review 73(1974): 398- 423.

Leblanc, Lauraine (1998). Observing Reel Life: Using Feature Films to Teach Ethnographic Methods. Teaching Sociology, 1. Web.

Wright, Kevin. “Conjugal Visitation: A U.S. Perspective.” Family and Corrections Network. 1977. Web.

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NerdyRoo. (2021, October 27). Conjugal Visitations in a Prison. Retrieved from https://nerdyroo.com/conjugal-visitations-in-a-prison/

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"Conjugal Visitations in a Prison." NerdyRoo, 27 Oct. 2021, nerdyroo.com/conjugal-visitations-in-a-prison/.

1. NerdyRoo. "Conjugal Visitations in a Prison." October 27, 2021. https://nerdyroo.com/conjugal-visitations-in-a-prison/.


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NerdyRoo. "Conjugal Visitations in a Prison." October 27, 2021. https://nerdyroo.com/conjugal-visitations-in-a-prison/.

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NerdyRoo. 2021. "Conjugal Visitations in a Prison." October 27, 2021. https://nerdyroo.com/conjugal-visitations-in-a-prison/.

References

NerdyRoo. (2021) 'Conjugal Visitations in a Prison'. 27 October.

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