new Delhi: Intimacy is a very important part of life and this is true for anyone – whether he is free or behind bars. It is very difficult to maintain normal relations during incarceration, especially if your loved one is out. According to a report in New York based international website ‘Vice News’, in many European countries, prisoners are allowed to meet their partners in private rooms inside the jail. However, the United Kingdom prohibits such visits inside prison. Instead, some prisoners in prisons there are allowed to go home to see their families at most once every 14 days. Most of these are prisoners who have been convicted by the court for some crime.
Laura Beasley, head of communications for the NGO ‘Prison Advice and Care Trust’, told Vice: ‘Home visitation facilities are very restricted and are usually reserved for low-risk prisoners, those very near the end of their sentence. are.’ According to the report, a research shows that conjugal visits strengthen prisoners’ family bonds and enhance their quality of life. It has also been told in this research that such meetings are allowed in American jails. In this matter, the policy of each state there is different. Inmates are allowed to meet their partners or family in prisons of only those states, where the rate of violence is low.
A 2012 study found ‘coupling visits’ inside prisons to be a powerful means of encouraging inmates to be on their best behavior, reports Vice. This gives them a feeling of not losing their fundamental rights. In Belgium, inmates inside prisons are required to meet their partners to prove they are legally in a committed relationship. When this happens, the prisoners are allowed to meet in a private room without any supervision. These meetings are held in a studio inside the prison, where there is more privacy than in a regular meeting room. Belgian law allows a married prisoner two hours of visitation with his partner in a private room per month, but in some cases such facilities are more generous.
What is the psychological effect of meeting a partner in jail?
But inside the jails, it is not very pleasant for the prisoners to get a private room from their partner or family. ‘VICE Belgium’ has also written an article about the sad experience of meeting a female prisoner and her boyfriend inside the prison. The female prisoner has been in prison for more than 7 years – first in the city of Mons, then in Birkendale. Birkendale Prison allows married inmates to meet their partners for 4 hours twice per month. She and her boyfriend are doing their best to keep their relationship alive, but the prison system is inevitably taking its toll on them.
The female prisoner told VICE Belgium about the experience of meeting her partner for the first time inside the prison, ‘It was very frightening. The eyes of other prisoners, guards and staff were similar to mine as I walked into the room. Other prisoners were shouting, making obscene remarks. The floor was wet in the private room, a sofa and bed were lying, whose condition was very bad. It was dirty. While staying inside, there was noise and commentary from outside. People were laughing on seeing him when he came out. No matter how many facilities you get, the point is that you cannot win against the prison system. Meeting the partner inside the jail is psychologically very painful.
FIRST PUBLISHED : December 23, 2022, 12:14 IST