Criminal Justice

Only a handful of states allow conjugal prison visits; which one is dropping its program?


A rally is planned in Jackson, Miss., this Friday to protest plans to end conjugal visits in the state’s prisons.

Prisoner commissioner Christopher Epps has said he plans to end the visits on Feb. 1 because of the cost and “the number of babies being born possibly as a result,” the New York Times reports.

Mississippi is among five states that still have active programs allowing time alone with spouses, the story says. The others are New York, California, New Mexico and Washington. All require the prisoners to be legally married and to have records of good behavior. Mississippi allows only an hour’s time for the visit, while the visits in other states can last one to three days and can include other family members such as children and grandparents.

Yale law students reviewed studies in 2012 that showed the visits could promote good behavior, lessen sexual activity among prisoners and help strengthen families. Some studies also suggest the visits could help inmates integrate into society after release, the story says.

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