Are incarcerated individuals in New York State correctional facilities allowed to have conjugal visits? Across New York, there are 44 state-run prisons. These prisons have a variety of programs for inmates, including Canine Training Programs, Adult Basic Education, Furniture Manufacturing, Horse Handling and Care, and more. These programs are designed to provide prisoners with educational opportunities, rewards, jobs, therapy, and more. But what about what is commonly known as 'conjugal visits'?

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash
Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

According to Wikipedia,

A conjugal visit is a scheduled period in which an inmate of a prison or jail is permitted to spend several hours or days in private with a visitor. The visitor is usually their legal spouse, and the visit's purpose is usually sexual activity.


Does New York State Allow Incarcerated Individuals To Have Conjugal Visits?

Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash
Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash

New York is one of five states that offer conjugal visits - New York, Mississippi, California, South Carolina, and Minnesota. Conjugal visits are permitted through the state's Family Reunion Program. According to the NY Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the goals of the program are,

  • Preserving and strengthening family ties that have been disrupted as a result of incarceration.

  • Fostering positive and responsible conduct.

  • Facilitating post-release reintegration into the family and community, thereby reducing the likelihood of recidivism.

Which Prisoners Are Eligible For Conjugal Visits In New York?

ICE Holds Immigrants At Adelanto Detention Facility
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Inmates must be eligible to qualify for the program. One of the major requirements is the have good behavior before and during the application process. Permitted visitors include:

- Legal spouses
- Children of the participant, including minor children of the incarcerated individual
- Parents or step-parents
- Grandparents
- Foster parents/guardians

Legal spouses are allowed to have conjugal visits while the other family members can enjoy extended visits. Other relatives, such as nieces and nephews can potentially visit but are subject to special review first.

Conjugal and family reunion visits are allowed at the following correctional facilities:

Bedford Hills
Great Meadow
Green Haven
Sing Sing

You can find out more info about the program here.

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These 7 Prisons Are The Most Violent In New York State

New York released a report with the most recent number of violent assaults on inmates in state prisons. There were 134 inmate deaths noted in the report, although it doesn't break down the prisons where each death occurred or who caused them. Here's a look at some of the general violent incidents reported for 2020, which is the most recent data reported by the state. Compared to 10 years ago, inmate assaults have almost doubled. In 2011 there were 666 and in 2020 there were 1,205 reported. These numbers do not include inmate assaults on staff members. Overall, the number of unusual incidents includes things like assaults, deaths, accidents, sexual misconduct, and disruptive behavior.  According to the state,
"The number of unusual incidents has increased 132% from 5,980 in 2011 to 13,870 in 2020. These higher incident numbers were largely due to increases in assaults on incarcerated individuals (+81%), assaults on staff (+86%), contraband (+130%), disruptive behavior (+372%), and staff use of weapons (+1,035%)."
  In 2020, 1,836 weapons used to cut or stab, including ice picks, razor blades, can lids and shanks were discovered in state prisons around New York.

Gallery Credit: Yasmin Young

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