How long do you think you can go without kissing your spouse or significant other? Do you think you’ll last a week or a month? So what about ten years? I’ve never been a big fan of public displays of affection, but I make an exception when visiting prisons, as do the federal Bureau of Prisons and every state’s Department of Corrections.
Time to talk about visitor-prisoner intimacy, and I’m going to answer the question: Is it okay to kiss during a prison visit?
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- contact visit
- contactless access
- Do prisons allow conjugal visitation?
When an inmate is in the general population, they are usually allowed a certain number of contact visits per month, whether they are held in a federal or state prison. Most contact visits take place in a large room where visitors and inmates can sit around a table to enjoy snacks, play games and chat.
When it comes to kisses and hugs, though, the rules are clear—keep them short and only at the beginning and end of the interview.
When an inmate enters the visiting room for the first time, each visitor is given a brief hug and kiss—and we’re talking maybe two seconds. The same protocol applies at the end of the visit. The only physical contact allowed during the visit was holding hands.
Why are the rules so strict? Well, it comes down to the passing of contraband. Visitors have been known to hold drugs in their mouths, which they can pass to inmates through long kisses.
There have also been cases of people smuggling drugs, tobacco and mobile phones into visiting rooms, passing these items around in hugs, leaving them in the visiting room bathrooms, or in vending machines where they can be found later.
I know it sounds crazy, but people go to extremes for smuggling. An inmate can strike a deal with another inmate who works in the visiting room and cleans the visitor bathrooms and the area near the vending machines.They actually portrayed this exact scene in one episode orange is the new black.
Prisoners are usually only allowed non-contact visits when they are isolated from the general population or in certain levels of supervision. In this case, prisoners and their visitors are separated by glass partitions through which they either talk or use a telephone.
No-contact visits are as the name implies, so you are not allowed to touch the inmate at any time during the visit. Of course, that means no kissing.
Do prisons allow conjugal visitation?
For inmates in federal prisons, the answer to the spousal visitation question is no. The same is true for most state prisons, but there are exceptions. California, New York and Washington are the only three states that offer the option of “family visitation,” in which inmates and their loved ones can visit in apartments for approximately 24 to 36 hours.
During such visits, visitors can have sex with prisoners, the only type of sex that is legal behind prison walls.
There are exceptions. Prisoners convicted of sexual or violent crimes against minors or members of their families, as well as prisoners serving life sentences, are generally denied conjugal visitation.
One of the worst parts of being locked up is the lack of human contact. You are not allowed to come into contact with other prisoners, let alone in close contact. Of course, this happens even when the rules are broken. But, at least in my opinion, a brief encounter with family or friends during a visit is far better than secret prison sex.
Do you think inmates and visitors should be allowed conjugal visitation? Let us know in the comments below.