Conjugal rights

Conjugal rights

LILONGWE (Malawi NewsNow ) — Center for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) is advocating for conjugal visits in an effort to curb the spread of HIV/Aids in prisons.

Homosexual anal intercourse is rife in Malawi prisons, creating fertile ground for the spread of HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases.

CHREAA says prisoners are being punished twice due to absence of conjugal rights provisions in the current prisons legislation.

Executive Director Mr Victor Mhango says people whose spouses committed various crimes have their family and love lives affected as they are denied their conjugal rights.

Mhango says Malawi Prisons should have family days, in which sex can be a part of the visit to preserve family ties during a prison term.

CHREAA argues that prisoners denied conjugal suffer psychological damage.

Mhango says “facilities must be provided to enable Malawi prisoners to enjoy conjugal visits.”

He says Malawi should respect the right to family and private by allowing “sexual relations” between prisoners and their visitors.

The rights and wrongs of enabling men serving long sentences to father children, to whose upbringing they can only ever make a limited contribution, could be debated in perpetuity.

Blanttyre-based thinks tank Institute for Policy Interaction, Director Mr Rafiq Hajat is opposed to sex on sentence, saying it is not feasible up until conditions in Malawi jails are improved.

“Malawi prisons are over crowded sometimes double the capacity that they have sometimes three times than the normal designed capacity so how do we practice conjugal rights in an over crowded prisons.

“Where would the prisoners have the privacy that they require I think the entire prison system and method of sentencing as well as the speed at sentences are carried out needs to be looked at holistically rather than looking at it as it stands today.So I would think that conjugal rights in the current prison scenario are not actually practicable,” says Hajat.

He urges government to consider improving prison conditions as soon as possible so that some rights of prisoners are uphold and that prisoners fairly serve their jail and get transformed that becoming worse than how they entered prison.