Prisoners may soon get leave for conjugal visits

Initiative expected to ease stress, help in reformation

The State could soon see the rollout of a novel initiative to ease the tension and frustration among prisoners who are languishing in various correctional facilities if the government approves a proposal sent by Additional Director General of Police and Inspector General of Prisons Ashuthosh Shukla.

Nudged by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, Mr. Shukla has suggested that they be granted leave so that they can undertake conjugal visits.

Said Mr. Shukla: “Recently, the court observed conjugal visits may lead to strong family bonding, and a few countries have already recognised this as the right of the prisoners. As part of reformation and correctional behaviour, we also suggested amendment of Rule 20 of the Tamil Nadu Suspension of Sentence Rules, 1982, so that conjugal visits can be treated as one of the grounds for leave.”

Authorities believe that conjugal visits may not only inculcate good behaviour among prisoners but also help fight cases of HIV and sexual offences which are quite rampant in prison campuses.

At present, prisoners get ordinary leave on the following grounds: to make arrangements for the livelihood of his/her family; for settlement of life after release; for admission of children in school or college; for construction or repairing the homestead; to make arrangements or to participate in the marriages of sons, daughters, full brothers or full sisters; for settling family disputes like partition and for undertaking agricultural operations like sowing and harvesting. They can also avail leave for other extraordinary reasons.

“We will add conjugal visit as a ground for leave in the Tamilnadu Prison Manual. We are also planning to introduce a video-conference facility for the interview of prisoners [by the family]. Such facilities will connect the prisons with the taluk office,” said Mr. Shukla.

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