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Conjugal Visits

Hudson Law Firm Feb. 3, 2023

conjugalConjugal visits are visits between incarcerated individuals and their spouses, partners, or family members that occur in prison facilities. These visits are often referred to as “family visits.” Conjugal visits are designed to maintain the bonds between incarcerated individuals and their families, while also providing a setting in which they can engage in activities that are otherwise not allowed within the prison, such as physical intimacy.

Conjugal visits are typically available in prisons located in countries with less stringent criminal justice systems, such as Brazil and Mexico, as well as in certain states in the United States. Conjugal visits can be beneficial for inmates, as they can maintain social and emotional ties to their families and provide a sense of normalcy. However, critics of conjugal visits argue that these visits create an unfair advantage for inmates and can lead to the exploitation of inmates by prison staff or other inmates.

Conjugal visits have never been allowed in New Jersey. They were allowed in 17 states in 1993, but by the 2000s, only six states allowed conjugal visits, and by 2015, even that number had decreased to just four states.

In the United States, conjugal visits are currently allowed in four states: California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington. These visits are private time that a prisoner may spend with his or her spouse or married partner. They are highly regulated and often require both the inmate and visitor to submit applications, and the visitor must pass a background check and be a family member. Common rules include requiring that the prisoner seeking such visits have a clean prison record of good behavior and no violence, and restricting visits to prisoners in low-security prisons only.

The New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) is responsible for operations and management of prison facilities in the U.S. state of New Jersey. The department operates 13 major institutions—seven adult male correctional facilities, three youth facilities, one facility for sex offenders, one women's correctional institution and a central reception / intake unit—and a Stabilization and Reintegration Program. The Office of the Corrections Ombudsman provides a mechanism for the continuing resolution of issues, problems or complaints of "State" sentenced inmates within New Jersey's Correctional System regarding their living conditions and treatment.