The Ghana Prison Service says it cannot guarantee conjugal visit for married inmates citing the lack of facilities and resources.
Sex is a physiological need that strengthens the bond between couples thus the pleas from some prisoners to be allowed to satisfy their sexual needs in a move to cut down on sodomy in prisons.
The recently attempted sodomy that led to the slashing of the penis of an inmate at the Ankaful Prison in Cape Coast has stirred up discussions whether to allow inmates some conjugal right.
The assumption that the incidence of homosexuality which is rife in the Prisons will reduce if inmates can have sex with their spouses under rules determined by the Prisons Service.
Acting Director General of Prisons, Emmanuel Adjator says this will not be possible anytime soon.
“It is a right but as at now, we don’t have the facilities to be able to allow inmates to enjoy that right. We have a problem of congestion and that has to be addressed first before they are permitted to have that right,” he told Adom News’ Maame Esi Nyamekye Thompson.
He said the Service needs a Constitutional backing to be able to grant inmates that right adding they need their infrastructure to be well upgraded to be able to facilitate it.
Nkoransa Member of Parliament and ranking member for on the Defense Committee of Parliament, Major Derek Oduro says conditions at the Prisons cannot support conjugal visit for inmates.
‘When your freedom is curtailed, it means you have a limit. It does not mean you can do everything otherwise it would be better to let you off the hook. So it is okay to visit your wife in prison but the laws do not permit you to sleep with her. Those laws exist elsewhere and not here,’ he spoke in the Twi language.
There have been public debates on whether prisoners must be allowed to enjoy their conjugal rights with one school of thought arguing that having sex is a right that should not be denied to those in prison.
However, others with contrary views contend that conjugal right in prison is untenable, explaining that it would lead to more problems for both prison authorities and society.
Countries like Australia (Queensland), Brazil, Denmark, Canada, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Spain allow conjugal visit where inmates spend several hours or days with their legal spouses during which parties can have sex.
The visits usually take place in designated rooms or a structure provided for that purpose, such as a trailer or a small cabin.
However, in the United States and the United Kingdom inmates have no constitutional rights to conjugal visits during custodial sentences.
The rationale for conjugal visits in jurisdictions where they are permitted is to preserve family bonds and facilitate re-integration into society when inmates complete their sentences.
The reality in the case of Ghana though is to first have the law to back it.
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