Conjugal Visit is where a prison inmate is allowed to spend private time with a spouse or other family member such as kids and grandparents. The visits are used for the prisoner and his spouse to engage in sexual relations. The purpose behind the visit is to keep the family bond strong during the prisoner's incarceration. Many prisons think that inmates are strongly motivated to comply with the various day to day rules and regulations of the prison for fear of losing the right to have a visit. There are many issues that pertain to a conjugal visit that have an impact on inmates and the prison system.
One of the biggest advantages to having a facility that allows conjugal visits is prisoners tend to follow the rules for fear of losing their right to have a visit. Schafer wrote an article where he points out the fact that family relationships have a huge impact on the prisoner's motivation to be rehabilitated. There are around 10 states in the US that currently allow the prisoners to have a overnight visit, those prison systems are conducting test to see just exactly what impact it has on an inmate. Schafer make a point that the prison system should be experimenting with giving the inmate some form of a relationship with family members. (N.E. Schafer pg 264-265). Several studies that I read during my research also conclude that inmates that were enrolled into a prison that allowed conjugal visits were 70% less likely to be a repeat offender. Another advantage of conjugal visits is that it cuts down on the sexual assaults that occur in prisons every day. In the past conjugal visits were also thought to reduce the risk of assaults in the inmate population, the thinking was that the inmate would not have all of that pent up aggression if he was allowed to have a conjugal visit.
There are however several disadvantages of allow such visits in our prison system. For an inmate that does not have the right to such visits he may have a negative attitude toward the prison and those that are allowed the visits. In California it cost the prison system almost 24 million dollars for the conjugal visit program (Carlson and Neil Cervera 1991). Prisoners are not monitored during the visit which is a security problem which allows both inmates and guards to engage in criminal activities. Most wardens throughout the US do not support the program which allows an inconsistence set of rules for who is considering a legal spouse. Now prison systems are allowing same sex partners that are legally recognized by the state to have conjugal visit, which goes against the idea of the program of family values. One of the biggest disadvantages is that so many wives become pregnant during the visit. “Welfare babies” are than born which puts another economic strain on the government to not only pay for their inmate's baby but also pay to house the inmate.
It is my opinion that the conjugal visits may have been a good idea at the inception, but given the amount of violence in our prison system today the program is a failure. Now that prison systems are allowing same sex visits it goes against the teachings of the bible of a man and a women which is the beginning of the family structure. I don't think that prisoners have the right as an inmate to have the privilege of conjugal visit; they choose to break that family tie by committing a criminal act. They took someone's freedom when they committed there crime so prisoners should not be afforded the same rights and freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis's