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Conjugal Visit Laws by State 2024

Conjugal Visit Laws by State 2024


California refers to these visits as contact visits. Conjugal visits have had a notorious past recently in the United States, as they were often not allowed to see their family unless it was for brief contact or to speak with them on the phone. Conjugal visits began as a way for an incarcerated partner to spend private time with their domestic partner, spouse, or life partner. Historically, these were granted as a result of mental health as well as some rights that have since been argued in court. For example, cases have gone to the Supreme Court which have been filed as visits being considered privileges instead of rights.

The right to procreate, religious freedom, marital privacy and to abstain from cruel and unusual punishment has been brought up and observed by the court. Of course, married spouses can't procreate if one is incarcerated, and this has been a topic of hot debate in the legal community for years. Although the rules have since been relaxed to allow more private time with one's family, especially to incentivize good behavior and rehabilitation, it is still a controversy within social parameters.

In 1993, only 17 states had conjugal visit programs, which went down to 6 in 2000. By 2015, almost all states had eliminated the need for these programs in favor of more progressive values. California was one of the first to create a program based around contact visits, which allows the inmate time with their family instead of "private time" with their spouses as a means of forced love or procreation.

Washington and Connecticut

Connecticut and Washington have similar programs within their prison systems, referring to conjugal visits as extended family visits. Of course, the focus has been to take the stigma away from conjugal visits as a means of procreation, a short time, and a privilege as a result of good behavior. Extended family visits are much more wholesome and inclusive, giving relatively ample time to connect with one's family, regardless if they have a partner or not. Inmates can see their children, parents, cousins, or anyone who is deemed to have been, and still is, close to the prisoner.

Of course, there are proponents of this system that say this aids rehabilitation in favor of being good role models for their children or younger siblings. Others feel if someone has committed a heinous crime, their rights should be fully stripped away to severely punish their behavior.

New York

On a cheerier note, New York has named its program the "family reunion program", which is an apt name for the state that holds the largest city in America by volume, New York City. NYC's finest have always had their handful of many different issues, including organized crime. The authorities are seeking a larger change in the incarceration system and want to adopt a stance that focuses more on the rehabilitation of the inmate that shows signs of regret, instead of severe punishment for punishment's sake.

Conjugal Visit Laws by State 2024

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