Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Should prisoners have conjugal visits?



Continuing a conversation I was in on Facebook with persons about a Star News story a couple days ago I am still on the fence with this issue on one hand it would be ideal for the sake of lessening the rage in our culture of violence but given a recent story that female warders are also allegedly granting sexual favours to selected members of the male prison populations albeit conjugal visits are not only for sexual contact but also enhancing family life and personal contact.





Chad Bryan, STAR Writer penned this story below given the recent controversy with a man who reported got a woman pregnant while allegedly in custody but it has turned out that the time that the supposed intimate contacts were to have occurred he was not incarcerated.

Prisoners should be allowed to have conjugal visits or, by extension, have sex with their spouse, noted attorney Dr Paul Ashley believes.

It is a view shared by head of the Department of Correctional Services Lieutenant Colonel Sean Prendergast.

Ashley posited that there is a well-known fact that homosexual men in some penal institutions are separated from heterosexual males.

"Implicit in this is that sex takes place among homosexuals in prison. My view, therefore, is that there should be conjugal visits with specific guidelines," he said. "One is presumed to be innocent not celibate, and if you are clothed in the presumption that you are innocent awaiting trial, why should you be denied sex since you are innocent until proven guilty?"

Ashley also added, "enforced celibacy is not a part of one's punishment. Even if it was, what are you then saying to homosexuals in prison who are given condoms?"

Prendergast explained that, as it stands, a conjugal visit for the purpose of sex is not allowed, but he would welcome the idea.

"Currently, the policy is that it is not allowed. My personal view is that I would like to see the day that it can be allowed. I would use it as a tool of control just like family visit. If we allowed conjugal visit, we would have well-behaving inmates. At current, the department does not have the facilities for that," he said.

Corporate Area pastors Reverend Peter Garth and Bishop Rowan Edwards dismissed the idea of allowing prisoners the right to sex while incarcerated.

"I am not certain that that should happen. It is a part of the punishment and, as such, should not happen," Garth said.

Echoing Garth's sentiments, Edwards said, "no, totally wrong. If they have violated the law, that's a part of their freedom they have given up. I'm not in agreement with that."

However, Pastor Carla Dunbar advanced another opinion.

"I would not have a problem with it, because of the reality in our society. That can be used to influence behaviour. If they are going to be there for a long period of time, that can be allowed once per month," she said.


ENDS

however the homosexual contact or behavioural bisexuality in prisons is of concern and the present ban on condoms listed as contraband thought they do find their way in via various means and men have been found to be HIV positive after entering the prison system which begs the question what is really going on behind closed bars in this case?

For the sake of bisexuals I would imagine sexual contact with the opposite sex may help relieve sexual tension (my unqualified opinion) but as for same sex urges maybe the system if ever getting to forward thinking consenting adults could be allowed time together with condoms supplied but the correctional services may never let this happen and we would never hear the end of it.

In an older post from sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch on Male Rape I hinted to the then correctional figureheads and their unease with the suggestion of male rape in prison. There was a story in 2011 also that spoke to molestation in a bathroom of a male prisoner by other prisoners, see HERE there was a short documentary on the issue of male rape as well but the issue has since died down somewhat.


In 1997, Lieutenant Colonel John Prescod(left in photo), then Commissioner of Corrections, suggested that condoms be distributed in the prisons as a means of stopping the spread of HIV. The suggestion sparked a riot that claimed the lives of 16 prisoners, some of whom were accused of being homosexuals and as it turns out many who died weren't actually gay but prior rivalry and a golden opportunity for a disturbance led the way to the attacks. The National AIDS Committee had recommended again in 2000 to the then Peoples National Party administration launch Mandatory medical examinations for all inmates, segregation of HIV positive inmates, legal conjugal visits, a health education programme for the prison, and permission for terminally ill patients to be allowed to die at home, were also among the recommendations made to the Government which were ignored.

Dr. Raymoth Notice (right in photo above) medical expert then in the penal system had said at the time, "...We recognize that the incidence of HIV is increasing in the general population and not only that, studies have shown that the incidence of AIDS in prison is six to 10 times greater in prisons than in the general population," also he continued "the level of homophobia and ignorance as well as the lack of resources have hampered the education process a whole lot. Before we even get to the condom issue it is important first and foremost to educate the population about AIDS. But everyone has been too afraid to do anything since the riots. There is no analysis being done, no reliable data, inmates are leaving with the disease and taking it back to their communities."



Lambert Brown, the UAWU's the then first vice-president, had said that although he was still opposed to condom distribution in prisons, he had nothing against the other recommendations made.

"The fight against AIDS is not based solely on condom distribution," Mr. Brown said. "Those who are promoting condoms in prison are using the back door to promote homosexuality which is illegal." here suggesting fear.

see the 1996 documentary here:


The prison wife phenomenon, multiple partner and the religious issues are looked at in the clip.


Peace and tolerance

H

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