User FAQ's Expert FAQ's Expert Login Contact Us


You Are Here Home > News > Crime and Punishment > Penal System > Expert Answer

Question What US states allow prison conjugal visits? (Posted by: Anonymous )

Kiesha Answered by: Kiesha, an
expert in the Penal System category
Like My Writing Below?

Click Here to hire me
to write for you!

  
  
  
  

Answer
Currently, only six U.S. states allow prison conjugal visits within their prison systems: California, Connecticut, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York and Washington. Originally, prison conjugal visits were used as an incentive to motivate working prisoners to be more productive. They were scheduled visits that allowed the prison inmate to spend one-on-one time with his or her legal spouse. Prisoners were lured by the idea of having the opportunity to have sexual contact with their spouses. Today, the main purpose of these visits is to preserve the family unit. That is why they are now called Extended Family Visits. These visits can include the legal spouse, but are also open to other immediate family members, including the inmate's children.

The states that allow Extended Family Visits believe that preserving the bond of the family unit makes the chances of the inmates rehabilitation greater. It is also believed that it helps to lessen the chances of them reverting back to a life of crime and returning to prison after release. Protecting the family bond does not just benefit the inmate, it is also important to the spouse, children and other immediate family members. It allows them the chance to interact privately with each other, just as any other family does. Together, they can talk, laugh, watch television, read, play games, cook and eat in an atmosphere that resembles that of an actual home or hotel suite.

The visits take place on prison grounds in apartment-style homes, with one or more bedrooms. They are fully furnished and equipped with appliances and cooking and eating utensils. Usually, up to three visitors are allowed at a time. They are allowed to bring approved food items to cook together as a family. Depending on the state's policy, these visits can be anywhere from a few hours to 72 hours, and usually take place over the weekend.

One unified policy that all six states agree on is that Extended Family Visits are “not a right, but a privilege.” Prisoners must earn the opportunity to participate in this program. They must be low-to-medium security level prisoners, with no history of disciplinary problems within the prison system. They cannot be incarcerated for violent offenses or have a history of child abuse or domestic violence. Prisoners being housed in maximum security level prisons are not eligible, even if they meet all other eligibility requirements. They must undergo testing for and be free of HIV and all STDs.

Visitors must also meet certain criteria. They must be approved by the state prison system for visits with the inmate. This requires passing an extensive criminal background check. For spouses, proof must be provided that a legal marriage exists. All other immediate family members must provide proof of their immediate relationship to the prisoner. While on prison grounds, visitors must follow all state prison visitor rules and regulations, including, but not limited to, dress codes. Prison visitors must undergo a full body search whenever they enter or leave the prison for Extended Family Visits.

Supporters of Extended Family Visits truly believe that they are instrumental to keeping families together and strong. Married couples get personal, quality time together. Parents and siblings get a chance to spend time with their loved ones. Incarcerated parents get full parental contact with their children. These privileged prison families get the opportunity to interact with each other like a “normal” family, if only for one weekend.

Please Rate This Answer! Avg. Count
  1 2 3 4 5   4.00 1028
Poor Excellent

Does Folsom State Prison allow Conjugal visits? And if so how long is the process to gettin married? By Anonymous on 14-03-12 at 04:30pm
I think that is a good idea . People do make mistakes and wind up in jail , unfortunately the family is the one that suffers. The kids in a relationship need to know they still have a parent , and that when you break the law you have to be punished. Maybe with the children seeing the absent parent in prison and how it hurt not being able to interact with the absent parent will make the child think twice about they themselves breaking the law as adults that they will soon be By Christina on 06-04-12 at 04:59pm
I wish more states would adopt this! It does help keep the family bond and teaches an inmate how to and/or to maintain family life on the straight an arrow! I also agree that it has the oppertunity to teach children to understand the impact it all can have on a family and could influence their own lives and help them to see the consequses to thirty actions affect more than just themselves. Another plus would be the amount of marriages this could save. It's human nature to feel wanted, loved and to be held and when you have no oppertunity to give or revive that, then people are more than likely to stray which increases the divorce rates as well as reacurences of criminal activity once released. I do think that this should also be open to people in long term relationships as long as proof can be provided. Guess that's just my opinion, but really do wish Indiana would give it a try :-) By Anonymous on 22-04-12 at 02:09am
I think this is a good idea.This will give the kids a chance to interact with that parent instead of sitting accross the table from them for hours at a time.If they can be in a family enviroment with that parent,wether male/female that child will be happier with the visit and that inmate will have a better attitude.We know that they are in there for they're wrong doing and family is already suffering while that parent is in there.And i feel alot of marriages can survive better if they are allow these visits. And also i feel that the prisoners will have better attitudes knowing that they have that kind of visit to look foward to.I don't think they would want to mess that up.Knowing that the privilage can be taken away from them would make them change their ways hopefully. By Anonymous on 13-06-12 at 04:03pm
Coming from the wife of an incarcerated man. To actually get to be alone with my husband and be able to hold him for more than 6 seconds would be heaven on earth. I wish so much they would allow conjugal visits in Nevada. I think they are a wonderful thing because just because the man I love is in prison doesn't make our marriage any less real or important! By Dawn on 20-08-12 at 09:45pm
I think this is a wonderful thing i wish they had it in Missouri.....i am gonna check and see what i can do to try to get it here if you are in Missouri and would be willing to sign a petition to get Missouri to start conjugal visits please contact me by email By angela on 08-10-12 at 02:11pm
I think family visits are a good idea for the sake of children whose parents are incarecated, speaking as the father of a inmate whose children are always asking why we cant see mommy, or where is mommy. I think it would give my daughter a chance to keep a parental bond with her children and give her a chance to explain to them that there is a real reaction to every decision you make in life and what you do not only effects you but alot of others. Also it would give the inmate more incentive to take advantage of their time in prison to improve themselves and if nessary seek treatment for addiction or psychological problems that they may have, and hopefully improve their lives when they get released and teach their children from the mistakes they have made, and hopefully give the children better tools for life than not being involved in their childrens lifes, if it changes one childs life for the better and gives them a better chance at life I feel it is worth trying. By fred on 08-01-13 at 03:01pm
Personally, EFV's should only be approved for "Families" that were together before the incarceration. I do not feel that EFV's should be allowed to inmates whom get married while incarcerated. At that point, it is simply a bootie call. Until a couple have lived together, there is no way to judge whether or not the relationship has any chance of lasting. Everyone "thinks" they are in love and it will last forever, but the facts speak for themselves, only approximately
0% of Incarceration marriages make it once the inmate is released. By J on 17-01-13 at 05:20pm
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/
013/04/13/from-anger-to-forgiveness-man-befriends-brothers-killer/comment-page-
/#comments Per CNN's article this man, Michael Rowe, fathered 3 children while incarcerated for murder. He received
0 years to life. The story is about the victim's brother forgiving him and now they work together to help "at risk" young men. Still, per your article conjugal visits are for non violent inmates. How did this happen. Just curious. Thanks By Marypaige on 13-04-13 at 11:51am
If what you say is correct, then how did the MONSTER Ted Bundy end up fathering a child? I know he was incarcerated in Florida after he was caught. I personally don't believe in any type of conjugal visit under any circumstances. These prisoners have it better than most of us poor working people and it makes me ill just thinking about it. And I speak from experience. My son's father was incarcerated for many years. It's punishment, deal with it. By Rebecca on 29-05-13 at 02:24am
Can opposite sex become domestic partners while one partner is incarcerated and if so do the California prisons allow domestic partners family visits? By Anonymous on 23-07-13 at 04:53am
Extended family visits/conjugal visits, whatever you want to call them, they are wrong. When people do bad things they are incarcerated. They should think before they act. Everyone needs to study the history of Eastern State Penitentiary. Now thats how prisons should be run. I don't believe in abusing any prisoner - that is wrong. But conjugal visits. Do the time then you can have your sex and other family relations. Providing an incentive to behave? The proverbial carrot in front of the donkey? If the prisoner is male and his wife gets pregnant during a visit isn't that child going to be raised in a single parent home? And, will most likely be a burden to the taxpayer.....who I might add is already supporting the inmate. I say no to conjugal visits. Do your time, get out and then reconnect. By Anonymous on 07-08-13 at 11:55pm
Some people are in jail for loving their families and some people deserves love back. Truthfully I agree that wrong doing must be confronted but every crime known to our knowledge is not harshly invoked just because someone does not get a purple heart don't mean that they are not hero at heart and jailed individuals are not always there because they planned too but people will experience that part of society by unintended human sacrifice. By Anonymous on 20-08-13 at 10:13pm
In the State of Washington there IS a charge to participate in the EFV's (Extended Family Visits). It was just raised from $5 per night to $10 per night. We do NOT, nor are we allowed to take our own towels or bedding in. That is provided for us. If you are not married before the incarceration and go through the process to get married while incarcerated in the State of Washington you must wait 3 years to have EFV's unless you have a child together. That changes the rules a bit. These overnight visits are not about sex. They are about staying connected with you loved one, being able to be with, talk to, touch without the prying eyes of correction officers and other visitors. It has been very beneficial for my husband and I. He does everything he can to avoid being in trouble so he can remain eligible for these visits. By justme on 08-09-13 at 04:34am
I would like to know what can I do to get this kind of visits in New Jersey my husband is in Bergman county jail and I will do whatever it takes so we can have this time with our kids too By Anonymous on 22-11-13 at 12:50am
I have traffic ticket if I go and start making payments cuz they're all in collections how long would it take me to get approved to visit my husband By Erika on 01-07-14 at 06:08am
My two cents, conjugal visits are totally UNNECESSARY there is no reason WHATSOEVER that someone in jail should potentially be able to get a women pregnant while in jail that is ridiculous. Families of prisoners that are non-violent definitely should be able to spend time with their loved ones but no, sex does not in anyway need to be involved, it should not be any kind of privilege until they have already done their time. One/two bedroom apartments that the state is furnishing - some families are living in cars for the weekend but these criminals are getting a free 'booty call' give me a break America!! By Ken on 24-07-14 at 07:26pm
I think more states should have this program I live in Richmond Virginia and I'm legally mmarried to my husband and he has been incarcerated for 11 years and still have 5 more to go I would like that family time with him and our two children. He made a mistake at 18 he is 30 people grow and mature why punish them forever. When in reality we are all sinners but GOD loves us all the same. Its alot of criminal out here sone just never got caught by the law and served time. So why have this for men and women who are legally married to the lovers in more states then 6. If you see it helps imates everyone should have a chance to have a better life. By Latonya on 16-08-14 at 05:01am
My opinion all prisons should have conjugal visits it may decrease some of the violence that takes place in those prisons By christine on 21-08-14 at 05:01pm
What about Arizona we need family to be together it doesn't matter if they charges us for
days to be with are husband I think that it will help the prisoner to have good behavior being close to the family and the people that They love.please help us passes the conjugal in Arizona The man I love with all my heart it's at Safford, Arizona By Janet. very Sad Girly on 13-09-14 at 01:14am
My husband and I have been married for
7 years. he has never been in prison before in his life. He was given a 15 year sentence. I love my husband and I have no plans on divorce. The state of Florida seems to go out of their way to take prisoners as far away from their loved ones as possible. I now travel 8 hours and spend any where from 300 to 500 dollars for a week end visit that consist of seeing him for about 5 hours if I'm lucky and the prison guards are in a decent mood and let the visitors in on time. I would be more than happy to give all the money I spend on paying for a hotel to the state if only to spend qualiy time with my husband. It's not about sex, it's about spending time with him one on one and even if just for the weekend feeling a bit of normality to our lives. I believe not only would my husband and I benefit from it but so would the state of Florida. I'm sure I speak for many Florida prison wives on this. I truly believe the state Florida should consider making extended family visits avaible to familes here. Sincerely Nancy a loving wife 09/19/
014 By Nancy on 19-09-14 at 12:49pm

Follow-Up Question so if an inmate was in prison for murder or manslaughter they wouldnt qualify for the program? (Posted by: misty )

Kiesha-12554 Answered by: Kiesha-12554, an
expert in the Penal System category
Like My Writing Below?

Click Here to hire me
to write for you!

  
  
  
  

Answer
That is correct. Family visits is a program for inmates that have not been convicted of violent crimes. They also can't commit violent crimes while they're serving time. Prison authorities want to be able to trust them not to kill someone that they're locked up in a home with over the weekend. I hope this doesn't sound judgmental. Because, I'm certainly not judging. I'm just stating the facts of the prison system.

Please Rate This Answer! Avg. Count
  1 2 3 4 5   3.00 109
Poor Excellent

Follow-Up Question thanks for this. I just have a quick question,do you know is if you owe a colection department dealing with tickets, if i will pass a background check, but i dont have any warrants nor on probation. (Posted by: Mrs. beverly )

Kiesha-12554 Answered by: Kiesha-12554, an
expert in the Penal System category
Like My Writing Below?

Click Here to hire me
to write for you!

  
  
  
  

Answer
I can't speak for every prison system. But, I can tell you about the California Prison System. Here in California, CDCR must approve your application to visit a state prisoner. You must submit an application, and they run an extensive background check to approve or deny you. One of those checks does include delinquent traffic tickets. Even if you don't have a warrant, traffic tickets that have been sent to collections are considered delinquent. CDCR will send you a denial letter detailing each one of these tickets as your reason for denial.

As far as warrants, well that speaks for itself. Why would anyone with an arrest warrant have the nerve to step foot in any place ran by the police, sheriff or deputies hoping to get cleared through their system?

When it comes to probation, I always suggest giving it a try. Many people on probation have been cleared to visit CDCR inmates. It just depends on the circumstances behind their probation, their probation status, how long it's been and their relationship with the inmate. The most important thing is to be honest on your Visitor Questionnaire. They will find everything, and automatically deny you for lying.

I hope this helps.

Please Rate This Answer! Avg. Count
  1 2 3 4 5   4.00 71
Poor Excellent

Follow-Up Question What kind of stuff can u take to the visiting room when you get the conjugal visits? (Posted by: Anonymous )

Kiesha-12554 Answered by: Kiesha-12554, an
expert in the Penal System category
Like My Writing Below?

Click Here to hire me
to write for you!

  
  
  
  

Answer
Each state prison system is different. And, each prison within those states is different. They all have their own set of rules and regulations. If you get approved, they will provide you with all of this information.

By the way, I would like to reiterate that they are no longer called conjugal visits. These were visits set up so that married couples could spend time together. They were allowed to bring their children with them on these visits.

They are now called family visits. These visits encourage the entire immediate family to stay connected. Thanks to family visits, now parents, siblings, adult children and grandchildren can also be included.

Please Rate This Answer! Avg. Count
  1 2 3 4 5   4.00 53
Poor Excellent

Follow-Up Question Can u help me with getting information on who to contact in my home state of west virginia in order to get these visits instated? Ill do whatever it takes to see about getting something set up! Thank you for your help! My boyfriend is a lifer in wv and this would be a great thing for him and so many others like him! Not to mention the children that are mussing out on their parents who are locked away forever. (Posted by: Megan Lanham-Crist )

Kiesha-12554 Answered by: Kiesha-12554, an
expert in the Penal System category
Like My Writing Below?

Click Here to hire me
to write for you!

  
  
  
  

Answer
Unfortunately, "lifers" are not allowed family visits in any of the states that have them. Here in California, they used to be allowed conjugal visits years ago. But, since the entire program was changed to become more of a way to keep families together, they became family visits. Now, these visits are specifically designed to help families remain as a strong unit so that when the inmate gets out, they won't have such a huge problem reconnecting with immediate family members. Because of this, these programs are no longer just for married couples. They now include parents, siblings, adult children and grandchildren.

There are two main reasons why "lifers" no longer get to participate in these visits:
1) On paper, they're never getting out. So, the systems don't feel the need to help them keep their families together.
2) On paper, they're never getting out. So, the powers that be think it's counter-productive for women to get pregnant during these visits. Men in prison would end up with children on the street that may never have a father. And, women in prison would end up giving birth to prison babies who will never have mothers, and may possibly end up in the system.

I'm not saying it's a hopeless cause. I'm just stating the facts. I have no idea where to begin to lobby your state to allow family visits, especially for lifers. But, it's worth a try.

Please Rate This Answer! Avg. Count
  1 2 3 4 5   3.00 63
Poor Excellent

Follow-Up Question Does it cost to be able to do a family visit with an inmate who you may be married to? And how long do you have to be married to the inmate before we can start doing family visits? (Posted by: Anonymous )

Kiesha-12554 Answered by: Kiesha-12554, an
expert in the Penal System category
Like My Writing Below?

Click Here to hire me
to write for you!

  
  
  
  

Answer
Does it cost to be able to do a family visit with an inmate who you may be married to? No, it does not cost anything to participate in Extended Family Visits. There is no charge to the inmate or their family members. Costs are only incurred because it's as if you're moving into a furnished apartment for the weekend. In other words, you must bring your own blankets, towels, pillows, sheets, food, and toiletries.

Because you'll have access to a fully furnished kitchen, this is where most family members spend lots of cash. They go out of their way to show their incarcerated loved ones how much they care by bringing some of their favorite foods to cook. Many want things like steak, shrimp, lots of junk foods, etc...

There is also the cost of transportation a lodging, as most prisons are in the boonies. Most people like to drive out the day before the visit starts, and stay in a motel/hotel until the next morning. This makes them more confident about arriving at the prison in time for their scheduled visit.

And how long do you have to be married to the inmate before we can start doing family visits? I can only speak for the state of California's prisons, CDCR, on this one. There is no actual time frame. As long as you're legally married, and the inmate fits the criteria in my article, you qualify for family visits.

However, it will take months for you to actually get an extended family visit. In the state of California, after a marriage ceremony is complete, you have to mail off the official forms so they can be recorded with the state. Some time later, you'll have access to your official marriage certificate. Proof of this must be sent to CDCR to have you placed in the inmate's records as their legal spouse. Then, your inmate can request an extended family visit.

It usually takes CDCR weeks... to months... to give you a response. Once you get the response, the weekend you're scheduled for will also be weeks away. So, although there's no amount of time you must be married to qualify for an extended family visit, it will be months before you'll actually get one once you're married or proven to be the legal spouse.

I hope this helps to clear up any questions you have. Thank you for taking the time to read my article.

Please Rate This Answer! Avg. Count
  1 2 3 4 5   4.00 67
Poor Excellent

Help Make This Answer Better - Post a Comment or Follow-Up Question!


First Name(Optional) OR
Email Address
Are you a human?

Similar Questions & Answers for: What US states allow prison conjugal visits?
Loading

Ask a Question About Penal System
or