Conjugal Visitation Rights and the Appropriate Standard of Judicial Review for Prison Regulations

Conjugal visitation rights allow prison inmates and spouses to visit privately and have sexual relations. A number of countries, particularly in Latin America, permit conjugal visits. Although in the United States only Mississippi and California currently permit conjugal visitation, the experience of these two states shows that such programs are workable. Conjugal visitation has met with varied reaction in the literature, but persuasive arguments have been made that it would offer potential psychological benefits to the prisoner, reduce prison homosexuality, and allow the inmate to preserve his or her marital ties. Nevertheless, the reaction of penal administrators in this country to conjugal visitation has been largely negative.