Questions that were e-mailed to Ms Elizabeth Banda, the spokeperson for the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, had not been responded to by the time of going to print.
History of conjugal visits According to online sources, prison conjugal visits started in the United States and indicate that the first programme dates back to the early 1900s when a warden at Mississippi State Penitentiary introduced conjugal visits as an incentive for the (mostly black) inmates to work harder in the prison’s farming industry.
Extended Family Visits are open to other immediate family members, including the inmate’s children.
This follows an incident in 2010 when an inmate murdered his girlfriend and attempted suicide during a visit.
Rules governing conjugal visits were subsequently changed and security was tightened.
Conjugal visits will also benefit those spouses that are out of prison,” added Mr Chiota.
He, however, said nothing has been done to make sure that the introduction of conjugal visits in local jails becomes a reality.
Prisoners were lured by the idea of having the opportunity to have sexual contact with their spouses.
Today, the main purpose of these visits is to preserve the family unit, hence they are now called Extended Family Visits.
Instead of deliberating on such near-impossible solutions as the introduction of conjugal visits, we should be thinking of how to make sure that basic health services are accessible to prisoners.” The Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) last week issued a statement arguing that the issue of HIV and AIDS in prisons has nothing to do with homosexuality but a “practical health rights issue” which needs Government’s commitment.
GALZ suggested that long periods of detention in terrible prison conditions cause males to engage in sexual activities, dismissing the fact that all those who engage in same sex relations in prisons are homosexuals.
The visits were used as an incentive to motivate prisoners to be more productive.
They were scheduled visits that allowed the inmate to spend one-on-one time with his or her legal spouse.
A conjugal visit is a scheduled period in which an inmate is permitted to spend several hours or even days in private with a visitor, usually their legal spouse. Mr Edson Chiota, the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (Zacro), said the introduction of conjugal visits is one of the many ways of reducing HIV prevalence both in and out of prisons.