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Are arizona jail inmates eligible for conjugal visits.

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Have a loved one whom is locked away in one of Arizona’s jails ?  Wondering if he or she would be eligible for a conjugal visit?  The short answer is no.

Unfortunately, only four states currently allow conjugal visits in the United States.

All the good behavior in the world won’t make a visit of the conjugal variety possible.  But, while private visits are out, inmates in Arizona are still eligible for regular visitation , unless they have been very bad while behind bars.   The Department of Corrections retains the authority to deny any individual visitation privileges. The decision of the parent or legal guardian shall always be the determining factor when rendering a determination to permit a minor’s visitation.  Visitors must pay a $25.00 fee for a background check first.

May 4, 2016 | 0 Comments  

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Visiting an inmate in Arizona

Visiting applications and rules for visiting inmates incarcerated in arizona.

During the intake process inmates may submit a list of visitors to the staff.  They will fill out form 911-1 which is just a visitation list with a maximum of 20 visitors.  An inmate placing you on this form is just the first step, you will then need to fill out a visitors application and return it to the inmate or proper visiting office depending on the inmates location.  Here are a few important things you will need to know before you visit:

  • You must fill out an Arizona inmate visitors application .  The application can be printed and mailed to the inmate or can be filled out and submitted online here .
  • Printed applications should be mailed back to the facility with "Attention Visitation Officer" written on the envelope.
  • The application has a $25 fee to perform the background check.  You do not have to pay the fee if the applicant is a minor (under 18), or is the inmate's attorney, or is a court appointed guardian of the minor who is visiting, or if you are applying for telephone contact only.
  • The application will automatically be denied if the $25 background fee is not paid.
  • Be truthful on your application, if they find out that you have given false information you may be denied visitation.
  • The Arizona Department of Corrections can take up to 60 days to review your application, and you must wait for approval before you visit.
  • If you applied by mail the facility will leave it up to the inmate to inform you of your visitation status, if you applied online you can check your status on the Arizona department of corrections website.
  • Minors must provide a birth certificate and be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to visit an inmate.
  • If your visiting application is denied you have 10 business days from the date it is denied to appeal, otherwise you must wait 6 months to re-apply.
  • Inmates can update/change their visiting list every 90 days.
  • In order to visit you must bring a valid photo state issued ID, such as a drivers license with you.
  • Inmates can have a maximum of 6 visitors at one time, but only if the visiting room is not crowded and their is enough space to accommodate all the visitors.

Additional things you should know and what the visiting process is like in Arizona:

  • Each time you arrive to visitation you are required to register yourself and any minors you are with on the daily visitor sign in log.
  • While visiting your inmate you may not talk or visit with any other inmates or visitors.
  • Usually you are alone at a table with your inmate, but under crowded conditions visitors may have to share a table with another visitor and inmate.
  • Visits can be up to two hours in length, unless the visiting room is at maximum capacity.
  • You will be searched when you first enter the facility, by metal detector, physical pat down, sometimes by dogs, or ion scanners. 
  • Your car can also be searched.
  • .You can bring up to $30 in coins for use in the vending machines.
  • If you are bringing a baby to visitation you are allowed to have three clear plastic baby bottles, and sealed unopened juice, formula or milk in a similar size to the bottle.  You are also allowed one diaper per hour of visiting, wipes in a plastic Ziploc bag, one pacifier, one bib, one blanket no larger than 4x4 feet.  All of these items should be in a clear plastic zip lock bag and will be inspected.

Visitors Dress Code for Arizona Prisons

For the safety and security of both the visitors and inmates, correctional institutions impose a strict dress code.  Some of the rules may seem trivial or silly but it is important that you know them and follow them.  Violation of any of these rules is reason for a denial of visit.  If you are uncertain about something you are going to wear, make sure you bring a change of clothes and leave them in your car.

  • Shoes and clothes must be worn at all times
  • Shorts must be to the knee when standing, jogging shorts, cut off shorts, or hip huggers are prohibited from being worn.
  • Skirts and dresses must come to the knee when standing, slits must not be more then 3 inches above the knee.
  • Swimsuits, sleeveless tops/shirts, tank tops, tube tops, halter tops, or any clothing that exposes your skin is prohibited, this includes mesh and sheer clothing.
  • Do not wear any clothing that exposes your back, midriff, or is cut lower than the collarbone front or back.  Exposed cleavage is prohibited.
  • Any tight clothing, or clothing that is meant to accentuate the body such as spandex, leggings etc are prohibited.
  • No hair extensions or clips can be worn.
  • Clothing that resembles uniforms, scrubs, or that has offensive language or pictures is prohibited.

For more information you can read the Arizona Department of Corrections policy on inmate visitation here .  If you have anything to add about visiting an inmate in Arizona, a question, comment, or experience you want to share with us, please do so by using the form below.

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Reckoning with the South

are conjugal visits allowed in arizona

This couple wants you to know that conjugal visits are only legal in 4 states

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are conjugal visits allowed in arizona

Editor's note: This story was co-written by inside-outside couple Steve Higginbotham and Jordana Rosenfeld, weaving together Jordana's personal experience and reporting with letters from Steve. Together, they examine popular myths around conjugal visits, their decreasing availability, and the punitive logic behind the state's policing of sex and intimacy that stifles relationships like theirs.   Jordana's words appear below in the orange boxes on the right; Steve's are in the purple on the left.

are conjugal visits allowed in arizona

The other day, when I told my grandmother I was researching the history of conjugal visits for an essay, she said, "Oh, like in my stories?" 

You can't talk about conjugal visits without talking about television, because television is pretty much the only place where conjugal visits still exist. A wide variety of TV shows either joke about or dramatize conjugal visits, from popular sitcoms that have little to nothing to do with prison life, like The Simpsons , Family Guy , and Seinfeld, to prestige dramas like Prison Break and Oz that purport to offer "gritty" and "realistic" prison tales. Conjugals loom large in public imagination about life in prison, which leaves people under the unfortunate impression that they are in any kind of way widespread or accessible.

Their availability has been in steady decline for more than 25 years. The mid-to-late 1990s are the often-cited high point of conjugal visits , with 17 states offering some kind of program. (Federal and maximum security prisons do not allow conjugals.) This means that at their most widespread, conjugal visits were only ever permitted in one-third of all states. 

There are only four U.S. states that currently allow conjugal visits, often called "extended" or "family" visits: California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington. Some people say Connecticut's program doesn't count though, when it comes to conjugals—and the Connecticut Department of Corrections agrees. Their family visit program is explicitly intended for the benefit of children and requires that the incarcerated person receiving visitors be a parent. Their child must attend . 

My boyfriend has been in prison for 28 years. He was 18 during the high point of conjugal visit programs. That's when the state of Missouri decided to lock him up for the rest of his natural life, effectively sentencing him to a lifetime of deep loneliness and sexual repression, not just because Missouri doesn't offer conjugal visits, but because when you are incarcerated, your body belongs to the state in every possible way—from your labor to your sex life. 

Every prison riot ever could have been prevented with some properly organized fucking.

are conjugal visits allowed in arizona

That's my boyfriend, Steve.

Not being able to physically express love—or even lust—builds frustration that boils over in unintended ways. 

Intimacy is policed rigidly in prison, and it has certainly worsened over the years. For most people with incarcerated lovers, intimacy happens not on a conjugal visit, but in the visiting room. Visits now may start and end with a brief embrace and chaste kiss. Open mouth kissing has been outlawed. These rules are enforced with terminated visits and even removing a person from the visiting list for a year or more.

Steve and I have kissed a total of six times.

We have also hugged six times, if you don't count us posing with his arm over my shoulder three times for pictures. The kisses were so brief that I'm not sure I remember what they felt like. He told me later on the phone that he knew he had to be the one to pull away from the kiss before we gave the COs in the bubble reason to intervene because I wouldn't. He knew this, somehow, before he ever kissed me. He was right. 

When I last visited him in Jefferson City Correctional Center, Steve told me about a real conjugal visit from '90s Missouri.

Years ago, people used to mess around in the visiting room at Potosi [Correctional Center]. Everyone knew to keep their sensitive visitors away from a certain area, because there was frequent sex behind a vending machine. I can neither confirm nor deny that cops were paid to turn a blind eye to it. I met a guy recently in my wing at JCCC who said he had heard of me, and that maybe I knew his father. I did know his father. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I probably saw his conception behind a Coke machine back in 1995.

The increasing restriction of physical touch—the expanded video surveillance of visiting spaces, the use of solitary confinement for the smallest infractions, and the withering of both in-person and conjugal visit programs—reflects the punitive logic that consensual human touch is a privilege that incarcerated people do not deserve.

This is an evil proposition, and it's one that is at the core of the ongoing dehumanization of millions of people in U.S. prisons, and the millions of people like me who love them. 

One woman with an incarcerated partner put it to researchers this way: "The prison system appears to be set up to break families up." And she's right. For the duration of his incarceration, I will never be closer to Steve than the state of Missouri is. I'm reminded during each of our timed kisses: His primary partner is the state. 

The most difficult part for me about a romantic relationship with a free woman is that I feel selfish. A lot of self-loathing thoughts creep in. I want the best for her and often question if I am that "best." However, an added benefit is that we can truly take things slowly and explore each other in ways that two free people don't often experience nowadays. We write emails daily. And these are important. We vent. And listen. We continue to build, whereas many free people stop building at consummation. 

But these are the realities rarely captured in media portrayals of romantic relationships between free world and incarcerated partners. Conjugals on TV are so disconnected from what it's actually like to be in a romantic relationship with an incarcerated person: Trying to schedule my life around precious 15 minute phone calls, paying 25 cents to send emails monitored by correctional officers, finding ways to symbolically include Steve in my life, like leaving open the seat next to me at the movies. Instead, television shows depict implausible scenarios of nefarious rendezvous that often parrot law enforcement lies. When they do so, they undermine the public's ability to conceptualize that love and commitment fuel relationships like ours. 

Although contraband typically enters prisons through staff , not visitors , television shows often present conjugal visits as a cover for smuggling, like in the earliest TV plot I could find involving a conjugal visit, from a 1986 Miami Vice episode. After his girlfriend is killed, Tubbs gets depressed enough to agree to go undercover at a state prison to bust some guards selling cocaine. In his briefing on the issue, Tubbs asks how the drugs are getting into the prison. Conjugal visits and family visits are the first two methods named by the prison commissioner, never mind that I have yet to find any evidence that Florida ever allowed those kinds of visits. 

Often, the excuse for policing visits so strictly is that drugs can be exchanged. But I know that lie is used for every type of control in prison. For over a year we had NO CONTACT visits because of the pandemic. During that time, dozens of inmates [at my facility] still overdosed and had drug-related episodes that caused them to need medical attention. Those drugs certainly didn't arrive through visits. They strip search and X-ray me going to and from visits anyway.

Everything in prison now is on camera. When a drug overdose occurs, the investigators track back over footage from visiting room cameras. One officer told me that while they were investigating drugs allegedly passing through the visiting room, they saw a guy covertly fingering his wife. This has happened on more than one occasion, but most guards will have enough of a heart not to bother with violations for some covert touching that wasn't caught until the camera review. Most. Sometimes, a rare asshole will just have to assert his power and write a CDV (conduct violation).

Write-ups or CDVs are given by staff at their discretion. The threat of solitary confinement is always looming in prison. It's another clever way of withholding physical interactions with other human beings as a form of torture. Solitary confinement for anywhere from 10 days to three months is a favorite punishment for "[nonviolent] sexual misconduct. " 

There's also a persistent media narrative that prison systems offer conjugal visit programs out of genuine concern for human welfare. A brief glance at the origins of conjugal visits in the U.S. prison system quickly disproves that theory, showing that conjugal visit programs were conceived as a tool of exploitation and social control. 

Conjugal visits originated in Mississippi at the infamous prison plantation, Mississippi State Penitentiary, or Parchman Farm. Mississippi state officials opened Parchman in the early 1900s, writes historian David Oshinsky in his book Worse than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice, in order to ensnare free Black people into forced labor. Mississippi, like other Southern states during Reconstruction, passed "Black Codes" that assigned harsh criminal penalties to minor "offenses" such as vagrancy, loitering, living with white people, and not carrying proof of employment—behaviors that were not considered criminal when done by white people. Using the crime loophole in the relatively new 13th Amendment, Mississippi charged thousands of Black people with crimes and forced them to work on the state's plantation. 

Parchman officials started offering sex to Black prisoners as a productivity incentive, "because prison officials wanted as much work as possible from their Negro convicts, whom they believed to have greater sexual needs than whites," Oshinsky writes.

"I never saw it, but I heard tell of truckloads of whores bein' sent up from Cleveland at dusk," said a Parchman prison official quoted by Oshinsky. "The cons who had a good day got to get 'em right there between the rows. In my day, we got civilized—put 'em up in little houses and told everybody that them whores was wives. That kept the Baptists off our backs." 

A certain kind of sexual morality has been instilled in the minds of many people with conservative religious upbringings. They naturally force this morality on people they consider children. That is how many guards see prisoners: as children.

Many states did not begin to join Mississippi in offering conjugal visits until much later in the century, when conservative governors like California's Ronald Reagan would determine in 1968 that allowing some married men to have sex with their wives was the best way to reduce " instances of homosexuality " in prisons. 

Abolitionists who wrote the book Queer (In)Justice , consider how concerned prison administrations have historically been and continue to be about queer sex in prisons. The book exposes both the deep fear of the liberatory potential of queer sexuality, and a broader reality that prisons are inherently queer places since prisons' "denial of sexual intimacy and agency is a quintessential queer experience." 

Beyond behavioral control, the rules that determine conjugal visit eligibility are always also about enforcing criminality, since the state decides what kind of charges render someone ineligible to wed or to have an extended visit. Even in the four states that allow these visits, most people with "violent" charges are only allowed to hold their lover's hand and briefly embrace at the beginning and end of visits.

We don't even have enough privacy to masturbate. 

I can be written up if anyone sees my dick, especially in the act of masturbation. I could face solitary confinement, loss of job, visits, religious programs, treatment classes, recreation, canteen spend, and school for getting written up. Conversely, I can be strip-searched at any given time and be forced to show everything.  

Living in this fishbowl has taught me there is no hiding. Too many bored eyes in the same small area to miss anything. Guards may come knocking on the door at any moment. My cellmate is often inches away from me, and it takes coordination to manage time away from each other because we eat, sleep, go to yard, and do just about everything on the same schedule. 

I choose to skip a meal occasionally and embrace the hunger, because it is much less painful than persistent relentless desire. After years of self-release in showers, in a room with snoring cellmates, or as quickly as possible when a brief moment of privacy occurs, my sex drive is all shook up. Current turn-ons could be said to include faucets running and/or snoring men.

Ultimately, this article is not about the right to conjugal visits. It's about the ways that punitive isolation and deprivation of loving physical contact have always been tactics of the U.S. prison system. 

Regardless of the quality of the representations, the prevalence of conjugal visits in movies and TV allows people to avoid thinking too hard about what it's like to be deprived of your sexual autonomy, maybe the rest of your life.

I have been locked up since I was 18, and I am 47 now. To be horny in prison for decades is painful. To the body and soul. 

There is justice as well as pleasure at stake here, and the difference between the two is slight. 

People who love someone in prison live shorter and harder lives. That we do it anyway shows the significance, centrality, and life-affirming nature of intimate relationships to those on both sides of the wall. Maybe it even points to the abolitionist power of romantic and sexual love between incarcerated and "free" people.

So, I guess we start with that thought and work from there to find a way to tear down the system.

are conjugal visits allowed in arizona

As part of Scalawag's 3rd annual Abolition Week,  pop justice  is exclusively featuring perspectives from currently and formerly incarcerated folks and systems-impacted folks.

More in pop justice:.

Hell and High Water: From Gaza to Mississippi

Hell and High Water: From Gaza to Mississippi

'It's not a story—it's a life:' A look at Snapped, from the inside

'It's not a story—it's a life:' A look at Snapped, from the inside

Come on Barbie, give us nothing!

Come on Barbie, give us nothing!

Barbie: Pretty Police

Barbie: Pretty Police

Related stories:, steve higginbotham & jordana rosenfeld.

Steve Higginbotham is a writer who spent many years narrating and transcribing materials into braille for the Missouri Center for Braille & Narration Production . He is serving a death by incarceration sentence in Jefferson City, Missouri. Jordana Rosenfeld is a journalist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. More of her work can be found at .

are conjugal visits allowed in arizona

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Maricopa County Custody Bureau Inmate Visitation

Search for an inmate in maricopa county, maricopa county custody bureau.

Address: 550 West Jackson Phoenix, AZ 85003 Phone: 602-876-0322

Schedule a Visit with an Inmate at the Maricopa County Custody Bureau

The Maricopa County Custody Bureau believes in the importance of their inmates having an opportunity to have visits from family and friends. When an inmate is released he or she needs to return home, and closeness to their family is one of the strongest reasons that keeps them from getting in trouble again.

One way that Maricopa County Custody Bureau is able to accomplish this is with on-site visitation, and video visitation using gettingout .

are conjugal visits allowed in arizona

The benefits of inmate visitation are:

  • It keeps inmates happy.
  • Allows the inmates to stay in touch with friends, family and children.
  • It is used as a way to control bad behavior, as inmates could lose this privilege if they act out.

For more information on scheduling visits, call the facility at 602-876-0322 , sign up with gettingout , or scroll down for a complete section of Visiting Hours, Signing up and Registering with gettingout , and Frequently Asked Questions and Answers, including dress codes, rules and guidelines.

Inmate Visiting Hours at the Maricopa County Custody Bureau

Maricopa county custody bureau remote (at home) video visitation schedule.

are conjugal visits allowed in arizona

  • All visits must be scheduled with gettingout at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Visits are 30 minutes.
  • Visitation schedule subject to change.

Visitation - 'At Jail' and Remote Video Visits

Maricopa county custody bureau uses gettingout  for their remote video visitation and/or visit scheduling.  there are three ways to remotely visit your inmate: 1.  using the gettingout/gtl kiosk at the jail. 2. using your computer from home. 3. using your phone on the gettingout or gtl apps..

How it Works with GettingOut 1.   Register an account . 2.  Select Maricopa County Custody Bureau 3. Choose either an INMATE ACCOUNT or FRIENDS & FAMILY ACCOUNT.    

  • **NOTE** Friends and Family must have funds in their "Friends & Family Account" to respond to inmate messages. 
  • If you deposit money online in the INMATE ACCOUNT, than they have the freedom to spend the money on visits or phone calls to anyone, or any other communications services available at Maricopa County Custody Bureau.
  • With the FRIENDS & FAMILY ACCOUNT, you control all communication services such as phone calls, video visits and messaging. Your inmate can only call the phone number you want.

4. You will then receive prompts to validate both your identity and phone number . 5.  Again, choose your inmate's facility, then type their name and select your inmate.

GettingOut will then guide you through the steps needed to arrange your remote visit.

Customer Service for GettingOut If you have any questions, you can call them at 866-516-0115 . GettingOut online contact form Frequently Asked Questions The GettingOut App is available on Google Play and Apple Store .

Visitation Options, Hours, Schedules & Rules

Visitation times and schedules for remote visitation with an inmate at Maricopa County Custody Bureau with  GettingOut  are available to you after logging in and selecting the inmate you wish to visit with.

* Visitation schedules are subject to change. * The actual visiting hours vary depending on the following factors:

  • Whether or not there are restrictions in place due to COVID or other factors such as security issues.
  • The day of the week.
  • Where the inmate is housed.
  • The inmate's sex.
  • Whether or not it is a Holiday.

* Each inmate is allowed one or two visits (or unlimited visits!), ranging from 15 minutes to one hour in length each week. * Inmates with special privileges may be allowed additional visits. * If you are visiting from another state or traveling a great distance, Maricopa County Custody Bureau may allow you an extended visitation. Call 602-876-0322 to ask for special consideration. * Call 602-876-0322 to ask about normal visiting hours at the jail, and procedures for scheduling a visit other than video visitation.

Visit an Inmate by video who is in the Maricopa County Custody Bureau

Can i visit an inmate in maricopa county custody bureau custody.

Yes, Maricopa County Custody Bureau, as well as all jails, allows you to visit an inmate.

By federal law, every jail must make provisions for offenders in custody, whether they are pretrial or convicted and sentenced, to receive visits from friends or family. 

Every state has their own policies regarding the amount of time that a jail must provide offenders in their custody, and then every facility gets to set their own rules, number of times, schedules, etc.   Some jails only allow 30 minutes a month. Others as much as an hour every day.

Before visiting, your inmate will have to have put you on an ‘inmate visitor’s list.' Jails can limit this approved list to as few as five people to as many as twenty.

The jail will most likely run a targeted background check on you, checking for outstanding warrants, criminal convictions and other red flags that may indicate to them that you could be a problem for the jail, a bad influence on the inmate or just be someone whose past puts you in violation of their policies.

There are three different types of visitation: •    Video visitation  •    In-person non-contact visitation •    Contact visitation

For security and staffing reasons, many jails have switched to video visitation only. Video visitation, also referred to as remote visitation, is monitored and recorded by the facility. Video visits can either take place using kiosks in the jail’s lobby, from your computer at home, or using an app on your phone.

Most jails, now that the COVID pandemic is behind us, have gone back to ‘in-person non-contact visitation’ even if they have also retained the video visitation programs. In-person visitation takes place in a booth of sorts, with a thick plastic shield separating the inmate and their visitor. Communication is done using old-fashioned telephone receivers like you see in phone booths.

Contact visitation between inmates and visitors in jails is rare. New York is one state that allows this. In a few other states, inmates who have been sentenced for non-violent offenses and are close to being released, may sometimes be allowed contact visits with special permission. A contact visit allows the inmate and visitor a brief hug or kiss, or handshake, both at the beginning and the conclusion of a visit.

Contact visits are also often allowed between inmates and their lawyer, law enforcement officials, and clergy. The downside of any contact visit is that before returning to their units, inmates must undergo a full strip search, which is demoralizing and invasive.

Can I visit an inmate in state prison custody?

Yes, prisons allow you to visit an inmate. Every state has their own limits on the minimum amount of time an inmate is allowed to have for visits from friends or family, however in federal prison, inmates are allowed a minimum of four hours per month.

Once an offender is sentenced to prison, your inmate will have to fill out a document listing you as an approved visitor. If you are not on this list you will not be allowed to visit.

The prison will then run a background check on you, checking for outstanding warrants, criminal convictions and other red flags that may indicate to them that you could be a problem for the jail, a bad influence on the inmate or just be someone whose past puts you in violation of their policies.

Most prisons allow anywhere from ten to twenty approved visitors per inmate, however each visit is limited to no more than four visitors at a time, children included. The list is compiled by the inmate.

Prisons have always allowed contact visits. A contact visit allows the inmate and visitor a brief hug or kiss, or handshake, both at the beginning and the conclusion of a visit. Some state prisons allow inmates and their visitor to hold hands, as long as the hands are on the table where the guards can see them.

However, given the ongoing problem of contraband - namely drugs and tobacco - being smuggled into the prisons by visitors, even the state prisons are moving to non-contact and video visitation. One way the visitors pass drugs to inmates is when they kiss. The drugs, wrapped in a small balloon, are then swallowed by the inmate who passes them through their digestive system later in the privacy of their cell.

What are the scheduled Inmate visitation times at the Maricopa County Custody Bureau?

The jail visitation times change often.  It is advisable to contact the Maricopa County Custody Bureau before planning your visit by calling 602-876-0322 .

If the visit is taking place at the Maricopa County Custody Bureau, whether in-person or by video, you will have to schedule the day and time with the jail.

Video visitation times from your home are much more flexible, often because you are not utilizing on of the few terminals in the jail lobby, and because the companies that handle the video visitation for the jail are providing inmates with hand-held computers, in addition to the video terminals they have in their units. 

We try to keep up with the visitation schedules for Maricopa County Custody Bureau, as well as every jail in the country. If we do have the schedule, you will find it on the top of this page.

How often can an inmate get visits?

Every state has their own policies regarding the amount of time that a jail must provide offenders in their custody, and then every facility, including Maricopa County Custody Bureau, gets to set their own rules, number of times, schedules, etc.   

Some jails only allow 30 minutes a month. Others as much as an hour every day.

Some jails require you to make an appointment one week in advance. Others require no appointment and work off the principle of ‘first come, first served’.

Every jail is different, and schedules can change; sometimes due to an emergency, the visit can be cancelled without notice, the moment you arrive at the jail.

Maricopa County Custody Bureau Visitation

We try to keep up with the visitation policies and schedules for Maricopa County Custody Bureau, as well as every jail in the country. If we do have the information on how often an inmate here can get visits, you will find it on the top of this page.

How long is a typical jail inmate’s visit?

An inmate visit can range from 15 minutes to an hour in length. We try to keep up with the visitation information for Maricopa County Custody Bureau, as well as every jail in the country. If we do have the information on how often an inmate here can get visits, you will find it on this page.

Typically, even though an inmate’s visit has a time limit, if you are visiting remotely from your home computer or cell phone, visits can be scheduled led back-to-back, so that even though your visit may have to start and stop every 15-30 minutes, you could visit with each other for hours at a time.

Keep in mind that video visits of this type do have a fee, as you are paying a third-party company. Prices fluctuate, based both on the company and the jail’s policy, but they typically cost about $0.30+- per minute.

How many people can visit an inmate at a jail or prison at one time?

Every jail makes its own policies regarding how many people can visit an inmate at one time. 

The factors that decide on the number of visitors are: 1.    How many people can fit into the visitation area comfortably. 2.    How many staff can oversee the visitation area. 3.    The more people visiting an inmate the more likely that if there is an argument, it is harder to control.

Most jails limit the number of visitors to no more than three or four, with a maximum of two of them being adults.

When doing a video visit from home, there is no limit on how many people can take part in a visit.

What are the inmate visitation rules for Maricopa County Custody Bureau?

Every jail and every prison have their own unique set of rules that must be followed when visiting an inmate, but in general, these are the guidelines:

Most important, you must first be on the inmate's approved visitation list that they create. •    Expect to have a background check done. •    Expect to be searched, go through a metal detector or pass a drug sniffing dog. •    You must be at least 18 years of age.  •    You must have a valid, government issued photo ID. •    Recently released inmates are either not allowed or must wait 6-12 months before being approved. •    Felons must get special permission. •    Children are allowed but must be with parent(s) or legal guardian. Birth certificate(s) or other legal proof is mandatory. •    Often babies are not allowed, but if they are, you will be allowed one diaper, one bottle and one teething ring, and maybe a baby carrier. •    Parents must be always in control of children. •    You must stay seated at all times. •    You cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. •    No arguments, loud voices or fighting allowed. •    No cell phones or any electronic equipment allowed. •    No cigarettes, drugs, lighters allowed. •    No purses, handbags or backpacks allowed. •    No weapons allowed. •    It is likely that your ID and your car key will be the only things allowed on the visit.

What are the inmate visitation dress codes for Maricopa County Custody Bureau?

In general, all jails and prisons are the same when it comes to dress codes and what you are NOT allowed to wear to a visit. The Maricopa County Custody Bureau is no different.

Jails and prisons don’t want you wearing anything too revealing or too gangster. Here are some of the other types of clothing NOT allowed: •    Shorts •    Short skirts or dresses •    Long skirts or wrap around skirts •    Sleeveless clothing •    Low cut shirts or dresses. •    Underwire bras •    Skirts or dresses with slits. •    Sweats or leggings. •    Tank tops or wife beater shirts. •    Excess jewelry •    Hats or headbands •    See-through clothing •    Pajamas •    Sunglasses •    Wigs or toupees •    Uniforms or scrubs •    Heels over 1”

What can I bring to visit an inmate in Maricopa County Custody Bureau?

In general, the only thing you can bring into an inmate in a jail is either your ID and your car key, or if they have lockers, you can bring in the locker key. 

Prisons are a different story. Typically, prisons have vending machines in the visitation area and allow visitors to bring in a clear plastic purse with coins in it, usually totaling no more than $40.00.

What do I have to wear when visiting an inmate?

Refer to the answer above that explains the dress codes, but in general, if want to know what to wear to visit someone in jail, imagine you are visiting someone’s grandmother for the first time… wear that outfit.

Can we hold hands, hug or kiss during inmate visits?

There are no jails in the United States that allow contact visits as a matter of regular policy, except for jails in the state of New York. Thus, the concept of holding hands, kissing or hugging is not relevant.

On the other hand, prisons do allow contact visitors from friends and family. When this is the case, a brief kiss or hug (or handshake) is allowed at the start of the visit and the end of the visit. Holding hands above the table is sometimes allowed in prisons, but not in jails.

Can friends visit inmates in Maricopa County Custody Bureau, or just family?

By law, every inmate is entitled to a visitor, whether family or friend. The only exception to that is youths that are being held in secure juvenile detention centers. The only people allowed to visit them are parents, grandparents, legal guardians, and in some cases, siblings.

In addition, they are also allowed visits from probation officers, lawyers and their caseworkers.

What is a video visit?

Video visitation, also known as remote visitation, is quickly becoming the preferred method for visiting an inmate in jail or prison for the following reasons: •    It requires little to no staff, versus the staff required to move inmates to and from the visit and watch over the visit. It saves the Maricopa County Custody Bureau money. •    It removes any opportunity for contraband (drugs) to enter the facility. •    It can become a profit center for the facility, given that the revenue generated by visits is shared with the jail. •    While inmates prefer to see family and friends in person, video visitation allows them to visit with them more often, and on a whim. •    Video visitation gives the inmates and their visitors the feeling of more privacy. Video visitation from the perspective of the visitor allows them to visit from their home, their car, at work, and even allows them to take their device to a family or religious gathering. It allows them to give their inmate the feeling of belonging and not being forgotten.

Video visitation can take place on a computer, a tablet or a phone. 

Video visitation saves time. Instead of spending hours driving to the jail, checking in, filling out paperwork, potentially being searched, waiting, and then having a 15–30-minute visit, if it isn’t cancelled at the last minute, the visit can be done from anywhere during a short break in the visitor’s day.

If the visitor does not have access to a phone or computer, they can make an appointment ahead of time and use terminals in the lobby of the jail.

You must also be on the inmate's approved list, even for a video visit.

What are the companies that work with the jails and prisons that allow video visits?

There are several different companies that contract with all the jails and prisons that allow video visitation:

These are the companies in alphabetical order:

CIDNET City Tele Coin Correct Solutions Group Correct Pay Ctel Gettingout GTL Homewav IC Solutions Inmate Canteen Inmate Sales iwebvisits JailATM Jpay Gettingintouch (netvisit) NCIC Prodigy Sales Reliance Securus Smart Communications Tiger Services Visitel In addition, some jails use Microsoft Meeting and Zoom .

What is a conjugal visit?

A conjugal visit is a visit where the inmate is allowed to spend anywhere from several hours to a full weekend with their spouse. These visits are private, not recorded, and take place in a building, and an area of the prison away from the general population.

The purpose of the conjugal visit is to keep the inmate’s relationship with their spouse strong. Some conjugal visits also include the inmate’s children. A swing set and other recreational activities are available for the children to keep occupied.

There are no jails in the United States where conjugal visits are allowed, however the state prisons in California, Connecticut, Washington and New York all allow conjugal visits.

To be eligible, you need to be married, in good standing with the prison, have taken courses that prepare the inmates for these type of visits, and other requirements.

What jails or prisons allow conjugal visits?

Only California, Connecticut, Washington and New York state prisons allow conjugal visits. There are no jails in the United States that allow conjugal visits.

Other countries are much more liberal and some even allow prostitutes to visit the inmates on a weekly basis.

What can I do to appeal if my inmate visits are suspended?

An inmate can get their visitation privileges suspended for their behavior both because of their interactions with staff and inmates, or disobeying policy, or because of their behavior during visitation.

A visitor can get their visitation privileges suspended due to their behavior during an inmate visit or if they violate any of the rules and regulations of inmate visits and/or other jail policies such as mail, phone, email, etc.

If either the inmate or their visitor disagrees with the suspension of their visitation privileges, they need to write a letter explaining their position to the Jail Warden, County Sheriff or the Captain in charge of the facility’s visitation.

Address the letter to: Maricopa County Custody Bureau PhysicalAddressHtml}

The letter should contain the following: •    Inmate’s full name they were booked under and their  Inmate ID# (booking #, etc.). If you know the Unit # and cell #, write that as well. •    The visitor’s (you) full name, Identification Card number (driver's license, state ID, passport, etc.), home address, telephone number and email address. •    Explanation of what occurred that led to the suspension, including the date, time, who was the staff member present, whether it was a face-to-face visit or video visit. •    Why do you believe the suspension was unwarranted. •    A full-blown apology if it was accidental. •    Why it’s important to the inmate to continue visitation. •    What type of suspension you agree to if it happens again.

You should also offer to come to the jail and present your case face-to-face if they are open to the request. It is harder to turn down a person when they are directly in front of you, asking for your help.

In situations like this it is always best to keep the correspondence cordial, professional and detailed. Do not attack the staff member personally. It is always possible that the staff member was having a bad day or was still feeling anxiety or anger from dealing with a previous issue.

Being a correctional officer in a jail or prison is a very difficult thing. They have be ‘on guard’ against physical attacks, manipulations, lies and really bad behavior at all times. They are ‘the enemy’ and they know it. By putting yourself in their shoes when writing or requesting a suspension be reconsidered, goes a long towards a final resolution that you will be pleased with.

Can I visit an inmate in the if I have a criminal record?

In most jails it is required that you fill out a visitation application prior to visiting an inmate. You also have to be approved to be a visitor by the inmate. Even when visiting by video, you will need to give your personal information which includes your driver’s license or state ID number. 

The jail will use this information to do a quick background check on you to see if you have a criminal history or have any outstanding active warrants.

It is most likely that you will also be asked on the application form if you have ever been arrested, been convicted, or spent time in the Maricopa County Custody Bureau. If the answer is yes, they will want details, dates, etc.   If you lie about this and get caught, you will lose your right to visits for a period.  This is usually between one year and indefinitely.

If you are a convicted felon, you will have to apply directly to the sheriff. If you are a spouse, child or parent, you have a pretty good chance of getting approved than if you are just a friend. On the other hand, on rare occasions, some jails have adopted a zero-tolerance policy and never allow felons to visit.

If you recently did time in Maricopa County Custody Bureau, it is most likely that you will not be approved for a visit for a period of six to twelve months, starting on the day of your release. It is rare, but some jails have adopted a zero-tolerance policy and never allow previous inmates to visit, even if your previous conviction was for a misdemeanor.

What if I have a criminal record and the inmate is my child, can I still visit?

As explained in the previous answer, there are generally multiple hoops you must jump through in order to be approved to visit an inmate, if you have a criminal record, specifically if you are a convicted felon, or have recently spent time as an inmate in the Maricopa County Custody Bureau.

However, if you are a parent of a child in jail, that is one of the rare times that the jail will make an exception and allow you to visit.

Can a juvenile in jail or detention get visits?

Juvenile visits are limited to parents, legal guardians and grandparents. Sometimes siblings are allowed, but this is not always the case. If the caseworker or staff of the facility believe that it's in the best interests of the resident to have siblings visit, it will be approved.

Can children visit inmates in Maricopa County Custody Bureau?

Most jails will allow inmates to receive visits from their children, however if the child is under age 18, they will need to be accompanied by an adult. Further the adult must be able to legally prove their relationship to the child using either a valid birth certificate, adoption papers or paperwork that proves they are the legal guardian.

If there is a ‘no contact’ order in place in which the inmate has lost their parental rights, and this is not disclosed to the jail, then the inmate may lose visitation rights with other visitors or lose other privileges within the jail, as this is a violation of the law.

Because the presence of children can be a distraction for inmates during visitation, and children require a certain number of things (toys, etc.) to keep them busy, many jails are now setting apart certain days, usually on the weekends, for children to visit.

Children also have to be on the inmate's approved visitor list.

To confirm the visitation rules at the Maricopa County Custody Bureau regarding child visits, call 602-876-0322 to speak to a staff member.

Are babies allowed to visit inmates at the Maricopa County Custody Bureau?

Most jails do allow babies to visit. They will require a birth certificate. And given the baby’s needs, they allow the parent to bring in extra items to the visitation room; an extra diaper, a few wipes, a clear bottle with fluid, a pacifier and a baby carrier, for example.

There are some jails however that never allow babies in the visiting room. The cutoff age is usually about two years old.

To confirm the visitation rules at the Maricopa County Custody Bureau regarding baby or infant visits, call 602-876-0322 to speak to a staff member.

How do I check to see if I have a criminal record?

Most people already know if they have a criminal record. Sometimes they do, but it does not show up on a background check. This is usually because the person has undergone a name change at some point, or the name was misspelled when the data was entered by the court. 

The best place (and least expensive) for the most comprehensive nationwide website to find out if you have a criminal record is , and they only cost $1.00 for 7-day trial.  

Visitation Approval for Maricopa County Custody Bureau

Maricopa county custody bureau requires all visitors to fill out an application prior to your visiting an inmate..

  • Carefully fill out the application. Incomplete paperwork is cause for denial.
  • Honesty, especially regarding past criminal convictions, probation etc., is important. These things will most likely show up on the background check – which if lied about on the application, will cause visits to be denied.
  • GettingOut  requires detailed verification before allowing you to use their services.

At Home Video Visitation

Video visits allow your visit to take place in the privacy of your own home. Some family members 'take their inmate with them' to church, the park, the doctor or anywhere else simply by signing in and bringing the device along. Video visits save you from having to get your children ready, drive to the jail, wait in long lines and go through security checkpoints just to see the inmate.

How it Works with GettingOut 1.   Register an account . 2. Find your Inmate's Facility here . 3. Choose either an INMATE ACCOUNT or FRIENDS & FAMILY ACCOUNT.    

  • **Note** Friends and Family must have funds in their "Friends & Family Account" to respond to inmate messages. 

4. You will then receive prompts to validate both your identity and phone number . 5. Again, choose your inmate's facility, then type their name and select your inmate.

Who can Visit an Inmate at Maricopa County Custody Bureau

Who can visit an inmate at the maricopa county custody bureau.

  • Anyone over the age of 18, who isn't on felony probation and can produce a valid government-issued photo ID can be approved to visit an inmate in Maricopa County Custody Bureau.
  • Visitation applicants in in Maricopa County must sometimes submit to a background check. Those with warrants are denied visitation or if allowed to visit, will be arrested at the jail.
  • Children under age 18 must be accompanied by the parent or legal guardian.
  • Call 602-876-0322 to ask specific questions about this policy or click here for any updates to this policy.
  • It is likely that the Maricopa County Custody Bureau will deny visitation to anyone with a past felony conviction regardless of probation/parole status. Call 602-876-0322 prior to arriving for the specific jail guideline regarding your legal status.
  • If you are a co-defendant with the inmate in a pending case, your visit will be denied.
  • If you and the inmate are under a court order to have no contact with each other, your visit will be denied.
  • The Maricopa County Custody Bureau reserves the right to deny any person the right to enter the jail it chooses and for any reason.

NOTE: GettingOut, the Maricopa County Custody Bureau visitation service, will need to verify that you say who you claim to be prior to giving you permission to use their services online or at the jail lobby kiosk. This will require uploading your driver's license or other state issued ID.

Maricopa County Custody Bureau Visitation Dress Code

The maricopa county custody bureau staff will turn anyone away who is not dressed appropriately for a visit..

  • Remote Visits are monitored by the jail.
  • If you are dressed inappropriately your visit will be shut off.
  • The best way to be sure the visit takes place is to dress as if you are meeting someone's grandmother for the first time. 

General Clothing Do's & Don'ts for Remote Visitation * Wear clothes that are not revealing. * Don't wear see-through material. * Have all undergarments covered (males and females) and avoid a lot of cleavage. * Shorts and skirts should reach mid-thigh. * Sleeves should be at least half-way to your elbow. * The following types of clothing are also prohibited: * Clothing promoting gang affiliation. * Anything displaying drugs, weapons or profanity. * Clothing depicting anything obscene.

Visitation Tips and Guidelines

All maricopa county custody bureau visits are conducted in person behind plexi-glass or on a televised screen from another location using remote video visitation..

  • If the visit takes place at Maricopa County Custody Bureau, all children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and guardians must provide proof of their guardianship.
  • Leave all personal belongings, except for your state ID in your vehicle or in a locker (if one is provided).
  • Children must be monitored at all times or jail staff will end the visit early.

How to Deposit Money into an Inmate's Account in Maricopa County Custody Bureau

To deposit money into the account of an inmate in Maricopa County, follow these instructions:

  • Create an account with Touchpay Services , a GTL company.

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  • Select Arizona.
  • Select Maricopa County Custody Bureau
  • Enter the Inmate ID of your inmate.  This can be found by calling 602-876-0322  or by looking up the inmate's name in the Inmate Search link .
  • Enter your billing information and send money.
  • You can also deposit cash using the kiosk at the Maricopa County Custody Bureau.  To do this you need the Inmate's ID Number and the Facility Locator Number for Maricopa County.

For all the information you need regarding making an inmate deposit, what it costs, how much you can send, how long it takes for your inmate to receive funds and more, and to get the Facility Locator Number, check out our  Send Money  Page.

There are five  choices for putting money on an inmate's books that may be used for paying an inmate's Bond or Bail.

Check with Maricopa County Custody Bureau by calling 602-876-0322 prior to paying a bond online as this is being rolled out to different facilities slowly.

1. Commissary money in the form of a money order may be mailed to: AdvancePay Service Department P.O. Box 911722 Denver, CO 80291-1722

2. You may use cash or credit/debit cards at any time by using the kiosk located in the front lobby.  The fee for the use of the ATM is generally $1.50 per transaction for cash and 10% fee for credit/debit cards.

3. Commissary money can also be added to an inmates account at any time using any of these methods online .

4 .  Cash deposits to ConnectNetwork are now available at 26,000 retail locations nationwide including Walmart, ACE, Kmart, Kroger, and more. You’ll start the payment process online in your ConnectNetwork account, then complete your transaction with cash at a participating local retail store. Plus, many of these stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Find a retail store near you .

5. You can call customer service 24/7 at 877-650-4249 and get instructions for depositing money over the phone using a debit or credit card.

How Do You Communicate with an Inmate in the Maricopa County Custody Bureau by Phone

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  • Advance Pay - This phone account allows you to prepay so that your inmate can call you (and only you) whenever he/she wants and the cost of each call is deducted from your balance. You can even be notified by text when your balance gets low. You still have the option of accepting or rejecting each call.
  • Pin Debit   -  This option allows you to fund an inmate's commissary account and lets him pay for phone calls to you and others with the money. You will have no control over who your inmate calls.
  • Voicemail   -  You can leave a secure voicemail without having to contact the facility. When you call the local phone number for a facility offering Inmate Voicemail (call Customer Service at 877-650-4249 to get the local voicemail number for Maricopa County Custody Bureau, you will be informed of the cost for leaving a message. To leave your message, simply select the inmate by ID number. Then, record your voicemail.

For full instructions on the Maricopa County Custody Bureau Inmate Phone System, what the costs are, how it works, and tips and guidelines on rules, regulations and saving money on calls, check out our  Inmate Phones  Page .

Depositing Money for Communicating with an Inmate

How to Make a Deposit for Phone, Email or Visitation using

  • Online  - They accept all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
  • At the Maricopa County Custody Bureau using the kiosk in the jail lobby - (cash, debit or credit card) NOTE - Maricopa County Custody Bureau may require identity verification so bring your driver’s license or some other form of ID.
  • By phone by calling  866-516-0115  - They have bi-lingual operators are standing by 24 hours 7 days a week to assist you with your deposit. Major credit cards accepted are Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
  • By using their app, either Android or iphone . - All credit cards mentioned above are accepted.

For all the information you need to know, including tips, guidelines and warnings about depositing money in a Maricopa County Custody Bureau inmate's account for communication services, check out our  Send Money   page.

How Inmates Can Use a Tablet to Access Services at Maricopa County Custody Bureau

To find out how to get access to a tablet for inmate read the following:

To learn more about Tablet Rentals for inmates, including the cost, all the services available and everything else you need to know, check out our  Tablet Rental  Page.

How to Communicate with an Maricopa County Custody Bureau Inmate by Mail and by Email

To mail or email an inmate in Maricopa County follow these steps:

When mailing a letter or postcard to an inmate, please follow these instructions:

  • All mail sent to an inmate at the Maricopa County Custody Bureau must include the sender's name and mailing address in the top left corner of the envelope or postcard.
  • All mail must include the facility's address, as well as the inmate's name and assigned number.
  • Failure to include your return address will most likely result in your mail NOT being delivered and your letter destroyed.
  • The Maricopa County Custody Bureau has a zero-tolerance policy regarding mail violations. 
  • All the information you need to understand mail and email policies can be found on our  Inmate Mail  Page and our  Text/Email an Inmate  Page.

Emailing Messages & Photos

Then use the Facility Finder to: 1.   Select Maricopa County Custody Bureau, 2. Add your inmate to your list of contacts, 3. Add a credit or debit card to cover your costs.

  • Messages can be up to 500 characters long, including punctuation. At the bottom of your message there is a 'character countdown' feature.  
  • After you click the “CONTINUE” button, you can review the cost to send your message to your inmate. You can also attach credits for your inmate to reply to your message.  Be sure to accept the Terms and Conditions and click the “SEND” button for your message to be successfully delivered to your inmate.
  • You can also send your Maricopa County inmate photos and videos.

Customer Service Questions 'Online' Contact Form , or Call    866-516-0115

Go here to this FAQ to get answers to how the transition to ViaPath from GTL and gettingout will affect your account.

All the information you need to understand mail and email policies for Maricopa County can be found on our  Inmate Mail Page and our  Text/Email an Inmate  Page.

How Do You Visit an Inmate in Maricopa County Custody Bureau?

To visit an inmate in Maricopa County, whether by video or in person 'at the jail', follow these steps:

To remotely visit an inmate in Maricopa County follow these steps: 1.  Start by confirming that Maricopa County Custody Bureau's Video Visitation is working correctly by looking up Maricopa County here . 2.  The next step is to  create an account here for GettingOut . 3. Then add funds to your account. 4. Last, select Maricopa County Custody Bureau, and then the inmate you wish to communicate with.

Other Maricopa County Services provided by GettingOut:  - Phone Calls & Voicemail   - Email, Photo & Video Sharing -  Inmate Tablet Rental -  Deposits

Customer Service If you have any questions about the Maricopa County Custody Bureau Visitation Services you can call them at 866-516-0115 . Frequently Asked Questions

* All the information you need to have complete knowledge about inmate visitation; policies, rules, fees, schedules, tips, dress codes, and children, lawyers and clergy visitation in Maricopa County, can be found on our  Visit Inmate  Page. Maricopa County Custody Bureau Phone: 602-876-0322

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Extending the Ties that Bind: Considering the Implementation of Extended Family Visits in Prisons

Thomas dutcher university of new haven.

The following brief presents valuable information for states considering implementing extended familial visitations to their current visitation policies within prisons. Specifically this report would be of interest to individuals within a given states’ Department of Corrections. The brief first outlines what is known about extended stay family visitations (also known as conjugal visitations) in relation to recidivism prevention, prison violence reduction, and maintenance of social ties. Thereafter, policies of states with current programs are reviewed. The brief recommends that states adopt a visitation policy, which allows for a broad definition of who qualifies as a visitor capable of applying for an extended visitation, and recommends considering the use of a monitoring and evaluation framework paired with the implementation of a program due to the limited current state of evidence-based literature on the topic.

Statement of Issue  

Roughly 45% of the United States population has had an incarcerated primary family member, and every state has some form of in-person visitation policy, but the vast majority of incarcerated persons will not receive visits from family (Cochran & Mears, 2013; Enns et al., 2019; Mitchell et al., 2016). The extant quantitative literature on the effects of familial visitation on the incarcerated person finds that visitations increase overall mood, increase reports of familial ties, decrease rule violation behavior, reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Yet it is important to note that within these studies, it is rare for more than 40% of those incarcerated individuals to report receiving any visits, let alone visits from family members (De Claire & Dixon, 2017; Duwe & Clark, 2013; Mears et al., 2012; Mitchell et al., 2016).

While visitation and maintaining familial ties are seen as theoretically relevant for reducing recidivism by reducing strain, strengthening familial ties, and combatting labeling associated with prisonization, there are significant barriers to visitation (Cochran & Mears, 2013). These barriers include distance to be traveled (often hundreds of miles), cost of travel, poor conditions in the general visiting area, length of visit, inconsistency in hours of allowable visit, length of time spent waiting at the facility, and the overarching cost of the experience (Christian, 2005; Cochran & Mears, 2013; Mowen & Visher, 2016).

With this in mind, this policy brief seeks to explore one way for addressing low in-person familial visitation rates. In the section that follows, a background on extended familial or “conjugal” visits will be provided. As of 2021, only four states have official extended familial visitation programs: Connecticut (Connecticut Department of Correction Directive 10.6), California (see Boudin et al., 2013), New York (DOC Dir 4500), and Washington (DOC 590.100). Extended familial visits, while not a panacea to low prison visitation, address many of the barriers to visitation shown in the existing literature.

Prison visitation has received a great deal of attention from researchers in the past 20 years. This research tends to show that visitation has a positive impact on the lives of those incarcerated, as well as the individuals visiting (Duwe & Clark, 2013; Mears et al., 2012; Mitchell et al., 2016; Tasca et al., 2016). Rather than detailing the key findings of the literature, the focus of this brief is placed on two separate meta-analyses of prison visitation research, along with a few routinely cited studies. This overarching literature will be used to introduce the limited research that has been conducted on extended familial (conjugal) visitations. While most of this research focuses on the effects of visitation on recidivism, it should be noted that an entirely separate body of research focuses on the effects of visitation for families on the outside (see: Adams, 2018; Christian, 2005; Mowen & Visher, 2016;; Siennick et al., 2013; Turanovic et al., 2012)

One meta-analysis conducted by De Claire & Dixon (2017) examined 10 studies that specifically looked at the effects of familial and romantic partner visitation related to the overall mood and disposition of the incarcerated person, instances of violations in prison, and recidivism. The authors found support for their hypothesis that visits from family improve mood, decrease in-prison violations, and decrease recidivism risk (De Claire & Dixon, 2017). However, differences exist related to the gender of the incarcerated individual. For example, visitation only reduced recidivism at a statistically significant level for men, not women (Claire & Dixon, 2017). The researchers noted that there needs to be further studies that examine the nuances of types of visitation, including extended familial visitation, and their effect on recidivism and in prison violations.

Mitchell et al. (2016), in another meta-analysis of the effects of prison visitation specific to recidivism outcomes, examined studies of 16 prison visitation programs that used either an experimental or quasi-experimental design. This meta-analysis found that prison visitation reduces recidivism by 26%, but that gender (larger effect for men than women), type of visit, and length of incarceration mediate the effect (Mitchell et al., 2016). Despite this mediation, the effect of visitation remained moderately significant. Unique to this meta-analysis was the inclusion of extended familial (conjugal) visits as a visitation type.  While it should be noted that far fewer studies in the meta-analysis were used to test the effect of these visits, the results of this study show that extended familial visits had the strongest effect on recidivism of any type of visitation, reducing recidivism by 36% (Mitchell et al., 2016).

Research specifically examining the effects of extended family (conjugal) visitation is hard to locate in the extant literature. The evaluative studies which do exist have focused almost exclusively on the extended visit program in the state of Mississippi, which ended in 2014 (McElreath et al., 2016). Research examining extended visitations generally includes discussions of now defunct programs (such as the aforementioned Mississippi program), in large part because the extant literature does not extend beyond 2014 (see Boudin et al., 2013; Carlson & Cevera, 1991; D’Alessio et al., 2013; Einat & Rabinovitz, 2013; Hensley et al., 2000, 2002). This prior research largely paints a positive picture of this form of visitation.

Hensley et al. (2000), surveying currently incarcerated persons in two facilities in Mississippi (126 men and 130 women), sought to examine if those that received extended familial (conjugal) visits had different views on the program than those who were eligible but did not participate. It is important to note that this study oversampled those receiving extended family visits, as 53% of their sample received this form of visit, whereas only 7% of the prison population received extended family visits (Hensley et al., 2000). Using logistic regression, this study found that there were no statistically significant differences in the opinions of extended visitations between those who did and did not receive them (Hensley et al., 2000). Both those who did and did not receive extended visits were in favor of the practice (Hensley et al., 2000).

Hensely et al. (2002) sought to examine the effects of extended family visits on the threat of, as well as actual acts of violent assault and sexual violence. In this study, extended family (conjugal) visits were coded as a dichotomous yes/no variable.  Using multiple regression, the researchers found that while extended family (conjugal) visits decreased threats and actual acts of violence/sexual violence for incarcerated women in the sample, this difference was not statistically significant. Additionally, this study found that extended family (conjugal) visits had no overall effect on violence scales employed (measuring threats and acts) (Hensley et al., 2002).

However, these null findings are in contrast to the majority of the extant literature, which finds positive effects of extended familial (conjugal) visitation (D’Alessio et al., 2013; De Claire & Dixon, 2017; Einat & Rabinovitz, 2013; Mears et al., 2012; Mitchell et al., 2016). D’Alessio et al. (2013), for example, in examining the rates of a reported inmate to inmate sexual assaults in all 50 states over three years, found that conjugal visitation was a statistically significant factor that reduced instances of sexual assault within men’s facilities. In other words, states with specific policies that allowed for extended familial (conjugal) visitation had lower reported rates of sexual abuse in their prisons. However, it must be mentioned again that since the time of this study, both Mississippi and New Mexico have ended their visitation programs.

Qualitative research has delved deeper into the perceptions of extended visits through the perspective of incarcerated persons. In studying perceptions of visitation experiences for incarcerated men, Pierce (2015) found that extended family visits were incredibly important to the 32 men in their sample for maintaining social bonds with their loved ones. Extended visits were mentioned as being preferred for their relative privacy and reportedly produced more meaningful visitation experiences for these men. Pierce (2015) found that continuing extended family visitations, improving the conditions of the trailers, and increasing the number of trailers to facilitate more frequent extended visits per eligible party were among the primary recommendations made by men for facilitating stronger familial ties. Additionally, Einat & Rabinovitz, (2013) examined the importance of “conjugal” visits for eight incarcerated women in Israel. Similarly, these women reflected on the importance of one-on-one visits to maintain deep connections with their romantic partners, which went beyond simply engaging in sex (Einat & Rabinovitz, 2013). The privacy and intimacy of non-traditional visits led individuals in both studies to assert extended visits were more beneficial to their familial relationships than a standard visit (Einat & Rabinovitz, 2013; Pierce, 2015).

Pre-existing policies

While all states have various regulations regarding the length of visitation, type of visit allowed (contact or no contact), and who may visit, all 50 states have a formal policy regulating prison visitation (Boudin et al., 2013). While most states have special policies allowing for extended visits, these extensions are seldom for longer than a few hours during the day. They also vary across states in terms of length of the extension and what type of visitor can request an extended visit (Boudin et al., 2013). Existing policies on these variations in day-time-hour-based extended visits also vary by state and are not possible to recount in detail. Of particular interest is the overnight extended stay visit (often referred to as a familial visit or conjugal visit). As of 2014, when New Mexico and Mississippi canceled their programs, 46 states have no formal policy that allows incarcerated individuals to engage in a private overnight stay with any familial visitor (Boudin et al., 2013) . The policies of Connecticut, New York, and Washington will be outlined below, with a focus on the unique or differing dimensions of each policy.

Extended Options: Connecticut

In the state of Connecticut, incarcerated persons are eligible for a 24-hour extended family visit from their child (under 18) and their spouse, the child's guardian, or the parent of the incarcerated person (Connecticut Department of Correction Directive 10.6). Unique to this policy is the mandate that the incarcerated person must be visited by two persons, one of whom must be their child. Incarcerated persons are eligible for a visit every 90-days. A set of eligibility guidelines exists for both the visitors and the incarcerated person. These eligibility guidelines for the incarcerated person mandate that they must not be on a restrictive status, must not have high-class disciplinary offenses, must have been incarcerated for at least 90 days, and must be in good health (Connecticut Department of Correction Directive 10.6) . Extended family visits occur on Saturdays and Wednesdays, beginning at 8:30 in the morning and ending at 8:30 the next day (Connecticut Department of Correction Directive 10.6). These visits cost ten dollars and are conducted in private trailers that are “similar to a two-bedroom apartment” (Connecticut Department of Correction Directive 10.6, p. 7) . Each facility in the state is capable of setting its own specific eligibility guidelines for both visitors and incarcerated individuals, in addition to the general rules set forth by the Connecticut Department of Corrections

Unlike the Connecticut state policy, which requires a child present in order for the extended stay visit to occur, the policies in New York, Washington, and California do not have this provision. Similar among all three policies are the extensive documents required by the visitor, to establish their identity and connection to the incarcerated person they are seeking to visit, as well as a lengthy application process that includes providing medical, legal, and background records . In all three states, a committee makes the final decision to approve or reject applications for these extended visits.

Extended Options: Washington

The “Extended Stay Family Policy” of Washington used the terminology “Extended Family Visits” rather than the now stigmatized term of conjugal visit (DOC 590.100) . Individuals able to apply for these types of visits include immediate family, parents, step-parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts or uncles, and legally married or state-certified domestic partners (DOC 590.100) . Similar to Connecticut, these visits are private and occur in mobile home units that must have at least one bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room. Under the Washington state policy, the incarcerated person must be serving at least five years, have been incarcerated for at least one year, cannot be in a maximum security facility, and cannot be a sex offender. The visitor cannot be their victim in the case of domestic violence, and the inmate must have a clean infraction record (DOC 590.100) . For visitors, the individual cannot be on parole, probation, or awaiting trial, cannot have testified against the individual, must be on their visitor list, and must have visited in person or through video visitations at least 6 times in the last year (DOC 590.100) . This last qualification is especially unique to this policy. The visits themselves can last from 20-48 hours and cost $15 per night, a charge payable by either the visitor or the incarcerated person. An incarcerated person is eligible for one extended visit per month.

Extended Options: New York

The New York Family Reunification Program operates similarly to the aforementioned Washington State policy. There are strict eligibility requirements, which include but are not limited to: the incarcerated person must be a minimum of 6 months into their sentence, must be clear of “excessive” disciplinary infractions and have no “major or severe” infractions, must be eligible for regular visits, cannot be a sex offender, and must be involved in at least one program related to their risk-needs assessment (DOC Dir 4500) . Visitor eligibility also requires that the individual be a frequent visitor; however, unlike the six visits required in Washington, three visits within the last year are required in New York.

For a visitor to be eligible, they must be able to show they are a legally married or common-law spouse, a child over the age of 18, a child under the age of 18 accompanied by a parent or the spouse of the incarcerated person, a minor child without an adult but with written permission approved under special review, a parent or step-parent of the incarcerated person, or a grandparent (DOC Dir 4500). The review process in the state of New York takes roughly five weeks by a full cycle review of the state DOC; after initial approval, subsequent applications can be handled by the specific facility. Twenty-two out of the fifty-two correctional facilities in the state offer this program (DOC Dir 4500). Similar to Washington State, extended visits can be canceled at any time, and individuals can lose their eligibility within the program, subject to the discretion of the facility.

Policy Options

Based on prior literature, the following policy options exist for states interested in implementing a form of an extended family (conjugal) visitation program. These policy options will focus on the general type of visit. Guidelines on eligibility are largely similar across the existing policy options, and as such, a given state should determine eligibility in line with their current visitation procedures. Noting that there is state by state variation in visitation procedures (Boudin et al., 2013), it is not feasible in this brief to cover all aspects of an extended family visitation policy. Instead, the options provided are based on the shared characteristics of existing policies. In other words, in the options that follow (particularly options one and two), the state will be left to determine what specific qualifying and disqualifying protocols should be in place for incarcerated persons to be eligible for the program.

The three policy options provided focus solely on the eligibility who can visit. These options are as follows:

Option 1 – Child-Caregiver-Incarcerated Parent Extended Visit

This option suggests adopting and implementing a family visitation program inspired by the state of Connecticut, requiring a child to be present during such visitations. The naming of this option as Child-Caregiver-Incarcerated Parent Extended Visit highlights the strict requirement of this approach. Only incarcerated parents of minor children may participate in this program, and only if the caregiver of that child is also willing to participate in that visit. It is recommended in this option to follow the overarching policy guidelines of the state of Connecticut related to the contents of visitation trailers and the length of these visits. As stated previously, the state may determine additional qualifying or disqualifying metrics.  


  • Allows for the facilitation of social ties between children and their incarcerated parent, which has been shown to reduce the criminogenic impact of growing up with an incarcerated parent.
  • Allows for the strengthening and maintaining of social bonds and ties between the child, incarcerated parent, and caregiver.
  • By focusing the policy and public narrative around the child being present, it may be possible to prevent negative public backlash related to the label of “conjugal” visits.


  • The scope of this program is limited to incarcerated individuals who have a child and a relationship with that child’s caregiver that would facilitate a three-way visitation.
  • Initial administrative, operations, and constructions costs related to setting up the infrastructure to facilitate these visits.
  • Times for such visits would be limited due to school schedules and would likely cause a backlog of visitations.
  • It may be hard for the child and parent to require the pre-requisite number of prior regular visits in order to be eligible for extended visits.

Option 2 – General Extended Family Visit

Adopt and implement a family visitation program inspired by states that do not have the child plus caregiver requirement. Or in other words, those states whose policies use a broader definition of who can visit. For the purposes of clarity and simplicity, this can be called the General Extended Family Visit. Within such a policy, parents, siblings, children, legal or common-law spouses, grandparents, and additional family members would be able to apply for the general extended family visit, if they had made a minimum of three regular visits (in person or video) in the prior year. It is recommended that states base their specific policy to be in line with their already existing visitation policies, while incorporating the key structures of The New York Family Reunification Program. As stated previously, the state may determine additional qualifying or disqualifying metrics.  

  • A wider variety of individuals who are key social support structures in the lives of incarcerated persons would have access to the visitation program.
  • Extended family visitation has been shown to decrease recidivism after re-entry, decrease instances of violence in prison between incarcerated persons, and produce stronger reports of familial ties on release.
  • Longer, higher-quality interpersonal visits may facilitate a higher frequency of visits by helping to combat certain barriers to visitation.
  • Allows for policy evaluation research to examine the effects of different types of visitors on things such as stress and strain experienced by incarcerated persons, recidivism, inter-inmate violence, and visitation satisfaction. This is critical to understanding what types of visits are beneficial and which ones do more harm than good.
  • Different types of visitors are shown to produce different levels of social and emotional support based on factors like the gender of the incarcerated person (Adams, 2018; Mowen & Visher, 2016; Turanovic & Tasca, 2019).


  • Achieving pre-requite prior visitations may be difficult for individuals seeking to participate in the program.
  • It may appear as a “soft on criminals” approach that led to the cancelation of extended family (conjugal) visitation programs in states such as Mississippi and New Mexico.

Option 3 – Maintain course

A third option is to maintain current visitation policies and not provide extended family visitations. This “as is” approach centers around the idea that the given Department of Corrections is doing enough to facilitate familial ties by providing its regular, standard visitation practices. This applies to states with no set-up for extended visits and those having only informal extended visit procedures (Boudin et al., 2013).

  • No additional cost incurred (only applies to states that do not still have facilities from previous programs).
  • No changes in policy, staffing, or procedures needed.
  • No risk of public backlash of being “soft on criminals.”
  • Does not address the needs of incarcerated persons or their families relative to visitation.
  • Does not allow for continued research on how various types of visitation may have greater impacts on recidivism.
  • Ignores that there is research that shows that extended family visits reduce recidivism more than standard visits.
  • Does not address the burdens experienced by families of incarcerated persons.


With careful consideration of existing familial visitation policies and standard visitation policies, as well as the recognition that existing policies in either domain are not standardized but rather tailored to the individual state by their department of corrections (Boudin et al., 2013), it is the recommendation of this paper that, in light of research showing the positive effects of extended family visits on recidivism and family ties, states currently without such policies should adopt a General Extended Family Visit policy (option two in the previous section). As mentioned above, the primary advantages of this approach include its broader scope of allowable visitors (recognizing heterogeneity in visitation effects), its capacity for reducing barriers to visitation, and the expected impacts on recidivism and quality of life.

Reducing barriers to incarceration is critical to sustaining the positive effects of visitation experienced by incarcerated persons, as research has shown that disruptions such as canceled visitation or infrequent visitation diminish the statistical significance of visitation in reducing misconduct while incarcerated (Siennick et al., 2013). While a full review of the significant barriers faced in attempting to visit an incarcerated family member is beyond the scope of this report, these difficulties largely center around time and distance spent traveling, cost of traveling, already fraying relationships, and negative outlooks on the visitation environment itself (Christian, 2005; Mitchell et al., 2016; Mowen & Visher, 2016). By providing private trailers with amenities far beyond that of a regular visitation space , an overnight visit, and privacy to promote a sense of near normalcy alongside intimacy, General Extended Family Visits directly address several of these barriers.

A key component leading to the recommendation for states without extended familial visits to adopt a program in its likeness is that it does not require the presence of a child for such visits to occur and allows for the broadest range of potential visitors, with extended family being able to apply for special consideration . This is important, because both qualitative and quantitative research reveals the effects of visitations are about more than just the simple act of visiting. There is no standard “best visitor,” and factors such as the gender of the incarcerated person, the quality of the previous relationship, and parenthood status all present unique dimensions to determining who makes an individual level best visitor (Mitchell et al., 2016; Mowen & Visher, 2016; Tasca et al., 2016; Turanovic & Tasca, 2019). Thus, by having a more open approach to individuals who can apply for extended visitation, states avoid a “one-size fits all” approach to policymaking.    

While prior quantitative research is limited, this research has found support for the ability of extended family visitation to have a greater effect on reducing recidivism and inter-inmate violence than standard visitations (Boudin et al., 2013; D’Alessio et al., 2013; De Claire & Dixon, 2017; Mitchell et al., 2016). In addition to reducing recidivism (a major goal of the correctional system and criminal justice system as a whole), extended visitations help to lessen the burden of the collateral consequences of incarceration, especially the strains and stressors related to the deterioration of familial networks, experienced by both those that are incarcerated and their families on the outside (Mowen & Visher, 2016; Tasca et al., 2016; Turanovic et al., 2012). In continuing with trends supporting restorative justice and social justice approaches to the criminal justice system, alleviating strains experienced by families of the incarcerated presents another strong reason for adopting this form of General Extended Family Policy. The importance of extended family visits for the mental and social wellbeing of incarcerated persons and their own views on their familial ties has been shown in research examining both incarcerated men and women (Einat & Rabinovitz, 2013; Pierce, 2015).

It is important to note, as we strive for evidence-based practices and policies, that more research is needed on the specific effects of extended family visits. The extant research has become outdated, existing in a time and space of a vastly different socio-political and prison policy climate (i.e., the get-tough era). The meta-analyses presented above focus primarily on visitation as a whole. While extended visitation was included in their analyses, replication and further study are needed to determine the degree to which extended visits may provide more of a benefit than regular visitation programs. Thus, states implementing the above recommendation should do so with the explicit purpose of constructing a monitoring and evaluation framework in order to conduct further research on the effects of extended family visitation on recidivism, prison misconduct, and familial ties.

Annotated Bibliography

Adams, B. L. (2018). Paternal incarceration and the family: Fifteen years in review. Sociology Compass , 12 (3), e12567.

This review of previous literature is important for understanding the effects of incarceration on families. The researchers provide a comprehensive review of the current state of literature related to paternal incarceration and provide insights into the importance of visitation for familial ties. Those without a background on the impacts of incarceration on families can gain a snapshot of modern research on the topic from this paper.

Boudin, C., Stutz, T., & Littman, A. (2013). Prison visitation policies: A fifty-state survey. Yale Law and Policy Review , 32(1) , 149-189.

This is the only known comprehensive review of visitation policies in every state. This paper highlights the variation in policies by state and notes the differences between formal stated policies and informal practices. The article features a review of various extended stay programs. However, it should be noted that several states listed as providing extended stay programs, no longer provide such services (New Mexico and Mississippi).

Carlson, B. E., & Cevera, N. (1991). Inmates and their Families: Conjugal Visits, Family Contact, and Family Functioning. Criminal Justice and Behavior , 18 (3), 318–331.

This study examined differences in the perceptions of family functioning and familial bonds between incarcerated men and their wives participating in the "Family Reunification Program", an extended visit policy in New York State. The results of this study, based on surveys by 63 incarcerated persons and 39 wives, found positive effects for the extended visitation program. Both incarcerated men and their partners reported higher levels of closeness than those not participating in the Family Reunification program.

Christian, J. (2005). Riding the Bus: Barriers to Prison Visitation and Family Management Strategies. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice , 21 (1), 31–48.

This qualitative research study examines the lived experience of individuals riding a 24 hour bus to visit their incarcerated loved ones. The study finds significant barriers to incarceration related not only to time and distance but also treatment by correctional staff and the visitation environment. This study provides qualitative depth to help understand the relatively low rate of individuals receiving visits while incarcerated in the United States.

Cochran, J. C., & Mears, D. P. (2013). Social isolation and inmate behavior: A conceptual framework for theorizing prison visitation and guiding and assessing research. Journal of Criminal Justice , 41 (4), 252–261.

This article provides a comprehensive review on scholarship related to both positive and negative effects of prison visitation. The article provides an expert analysis on the current state of the literature as well as the heterogeneous impacts of various types of prison visitation.

Connecticut Department of Corrections. (2020). Inmate Visits (10.6; p. 14). Connecticut Department of Corrections.

This document provides the Connecticut Department of Corrections policies related to visitations at carceral facilities in the state. It presents the overall policies of the state, including but not limited to the states’ extended visit policy. It is of critical importance to understanding existing policies in place

D’Alessio, S. J., Flexon, J., & Stolzenberg, L. (2013). The Effect of Conjugal Visitation on Sexual Violence in Prison. American Journal of Criminal Justice , 38 (1), 13–26.

This article examines the impact of conjugal visits on sexual violence in prisons by examining longitudinal data from all fifty states. In this study the dependent variable is the yearly number of reported sexual offenses between incarcerated persons and the independent variable of interest is a dummy variable based on if a state has a conjugal visitation program. This study found that states with conjugal visitation programs have significantly lower levels of sexual offenses when controlling for other factors. This article makes up a key portion of the limited extant literature on conjugal visitation.

De Claire, K., & Dixon, L. (2017). The Effects of Prison Visits from Family Members on Prisoners’ Well-Being, Prison Rule Breaking, and Recidivism: A Review of Research since 1991. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse , 18 (2), 185–199.

This article provides a meta-analysis of prison visitation research, focused specifically on the effects of that research for incarcerated persons. The study finds that visitation generally has a positive impact on inmate wellbeing, reduces recidivism, and reduces inter-inmate violence. Additionally, this research finds heterogeneity in the effects of visitation based on the type of visit and the gender of the inmate being visited. This study is important for those seeking a background on the effects of prison visitation for incarcerated persons.

Duwe, G., & Clark, V. (2013). Blessed Be the Social Tie That Binds: The Effects of Prison Visitation on Offender Recidivism. Criminal Justice Policy Review , 24 (3), 271–296.

This article examines the impact of visitation, visitation frequency, and type of visitor on recidivism risk. The study found that examining visitation frequency shows there are nuanced effects beyond visitation yes/no of visitation on recidivism. Additionally, certain visitors were found to decrease recidivism risk while others, such as former spouses, increased risk of recidivism post-release. It is a well-researched and methodologically sound article providing a nuanced take on the effects of visitation.

Einat, T., & Rabinovitz, S. (2013). A Warm Touch in a Cold Cell: Inmates’ Views on Conjugal Visits in a Maximum-Security Women’s Prison in Israel. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology , 57 (12), 1522–1545.

This article examines the perceptions of conjugal visitations within a women's prison in Isreal. This qualitative study reveals key themes related to the visitation experience that highlights its importance for maintaining familial ties and social bonds for participating women. It is an important study for those examining the significance of providing extended visits beyond measurable metrics such as recidivism.

Enns, P. K., Yi, Y., Comfort, M., Goldman, A. W., Lee, H., Muller, C., Wakefield, S., Wang, E. A., & Wildeman, C. (2019). What Percentage of Americans Have Ever Had a Family Member Incarcerated? Evidence from the Family History of Incarceration Survey (FamHIS). Socius , 5 , 2378023119829332.

This article uses a new tool the Family History of Incarcerated Survey, to answer their research question of how many individuals living in America have ever had an incarcerated family member. The authors found that nearly half of all Americans have experienced the incarceration of an immediate member of their family. This research is important for beginning to understand the significance of having a variety of visitation programs within a given department of corrections.

Hensley, C., Koscheski, M., & Tewksbury, R. (2002). Does Participation in Conjugal Visitations Reduce Prison Violence in Mississippi? An Exploratory Study. Criminal Justice Review , 27 (1), 52–65.

This study examines the impact of conjugal visitation on inter-inmate violence in prisons within the state of Mississippi. The researchers surveyed 256 men and women within two prisons in the state. The researchers found no statistically significant difference in threats or acts of violence between those participating in the program and those that were not. This study is important to recognize because it does not find positive effects of conjugal visitation.

Hensley, C., Rutland, S., & Gray-Ray, P. (2000). Inmate attitudes toward the conjugal visitation program in Mississippi prisons: An exploratory study. American Journal of Criminal Justice , 25 (1), 137–145.

This study examines perceptions of conjugal visitation within two Mississippi prisons. In this study incarcerated persons, both participants and non-participants were surveyed. The key finding of this study is that both groups rated the program as being a both important and necessary form of visitation regardless of their own eligibility for the program.

McElreath, D. H., Doss, D. A., Jensen, C. J., Wigginton, M. P., Mallory, S., Lyons, T., Williamson, L., & Jones, D. W. (2016). The End of the Mississippi Experiment with Conjugal Visitation. The Prison Journal , 96 (5), 752–764.

This article discusses the factors that led to the cancelation of the Mississippi conjugal visitation program. The authors cover previous literature on conjugal visitation as well as research specific to the state of Mississippi. It is an important piece to read to understand common objections to extended familial visitation programs.

Mears, D. P., Cochran, J. C., Siennick, S. E., & Bales, W. D. (201). Prison Visitation and Recidivism. Justice Quarterly , 29 (6), 888–918.

This article uses propensity score matching in a rigorous analysis of the effects of prison visitation on recidivism. The authors find that different types of visits as well as the frequency of visits are important moderating variables on the effect of visitation measured as yes/no on recidivism. Overall the researchers find that visitation has a positive effect on recidivism. This study is an important piece of the quantitative literature on the effects of visitation on recidivism due to its rigorous design.

Mitchell, M. M., Spooner, K., Jia, D., & Zhang, Y. (2016). The effect of prison visitation on reentry success: A meta-analysis. Journal of Criminal Justice , 47 , 74–83.

This meta-analysis examines the effects of prison visitation on recidivism. The authors of this meta-analysis examined studies that looked at nuanced factors that may effects the any relationship between visitation and recidivism including; who is visiting, what type of visit is being conducted, and the gender and race of the individual being visited. The results of this study point to extended visits having a greater impact on recidivism than standard visits. This article is important for those looking to gain immediate insights into trends in the research on visitation.

Mowen, T. J., & Visher, C. A. (2016). Changing the Ties that Bind. Criminology & Public Policy , 15 (2), 503–528.

This study specifically examines factors that lead to changes in familial ties when a member of that family is incarcerated. Central among their findings to this policy brief is the reported importance of visitation in sustaining familial ties. This study is important for understanding the dynamics within families with an incarcerated immediate member.

New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. (2016). Family Reunion Program (DIR #4500; p. 14). New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

This document provides the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision policies related to the extended stay visitation program at carceral facilities in the state. It presents the overall policies of the state regarding this program known specifically as the Family Reunification Program. It is of critical importance to understanding existing policies in place

Pierce, M. B. (2015). Male Inmate Perceptions of the Visitation Experience: Suggestions on How Prisons Can Promote Inmate–Family Relationships. The Prison Journal , 95 (3), 370–396.

This study, through a qualitative design, examines heterogeneity in visitation by asking incarcerated men about their visitation experiences. The authors specifically included those that had experienced extended stay familial visits and the importance of these visits are accounted for in detail. This article presents important findings via recommendations these men have for improving visitation experiences.

Siennick, S. E., Mears, D.P & Bales, W.D., (2013) Here and Gone: Anticipation and Separation Effects of Prison Visits on Inmate Infractions. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 50 (3), 417–444.

This study examines the impact of irregular visitation schedules and canceled visitations on the behavior of incarcerated persons. The results of this study show that gaps in visitation may increase inmate infractions and violence. The authors find that maintaining and facilitating regular visits reduces infractions and violence. This study is important for examining the impacts of visitation backups and canceled visitations.

Tasca, M., Mulvey, P., & Rodriguez, N. (2016). Families coming together in prison: An examination of visitation encounters. Punishment & Society , 18 (4), 459–478.

This qualitative study takes a unique approach to studying prison visitation by examining what is said during these visits in order to assess factors related to perceptions of a "successful" visit. The authors present several key themes related to the types of conversations most frequently had based on the relationship between the visitor and visiting party. It is important for understanding the social dynamics of visitations.

Turanovic, J. J., Rodriguez, N., & Pratt, T. C. (2012). The collateral consequences of incarceration revisited: A qualitative analysis of the effects of caregivers of children of incarcerated parents. Criminology , 50 (4), 913–959.

This study presents a large (100 caregiver) qualitative analysis on the experiences of family members of the incarcerated. The results of this study highlight the collateral consequences of incarceration experienced by families, including barriers to incarceration. The study highlights first-hand accounts on how visitation can be a strong asset in lessening the collateral consequences of incarceration. This study is important for those seeking more information on the social benefits of visitation beyond that of recidivism prevention.

Turanovic, J. J., & Tasca, M. (2019). Inmates’ Experiences with Prison Visitation. Justice Quarterly , 36 (2), 287–322.

This extensive study of experiences of prison visitation examined emotional responses to visits by the incarcerated. The results of this study, derived from 228 incarcerated persons, show that a whole range of both positive and negative emotions associated with visitation are commonly experienced. The authors recommend family-focused interventions, such as extended familial visits may help maximize the positive effects of visitations while combatting negative effects.

Washington Department of Corrections. (2020). Extended Family Visiting (DOC 590.100; p. 17). Washington Department of Corrections.

This document provides the Washington State Department of Corrections policies related to extended family visitations at carceral facilities in the state. It presents the overall policies of the program and is of critical importance to understanding existing policies in place.

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General Facility Information

Visitation table of contents.

  • What can I expect when visiting.
  • Are the visitation rules different depending on the type prison that Arizona Department of Corrections (ADCRR) PERRYVILLE is?
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  • Can I request longer visitations with the facility?
  • Where can I get a visitation application for Arizona Department of Corrections (ADCRR) PERRYVILLE? - Click to download.
  • What are some of the do’s and don’ts of visitation?
  • Visiting an Inmate - 10 easy steps you should know.
  • First time in prison?
  • A day in the life of a prisoner.
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  • Visiting day at a prison - Things you should be aware of.

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General Visitation Information

2024 perryville visitation schedule.pdf.

Saturday & Sunday 8:00am – 12:00pm; 12:00pm – 4:00pm; 8:00am – 4:00pm Non-Contact Visits Must call Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday to schedule a visit

Visits are conducted depending on available space Mondays & Fridays 8:00 am-10:00 am & 1:00 pm-3:00 pm

Application to Visit an Inmate

  • Do not apply while the inmate is in the intake process at Alhambra or the intake process at Perryville.
  • Applicable background check fees and/or required supporting documents must be received within 30 days from the application date.
  • If the applicable fees and/or required supporting documents are not received within 30 days, the application will be considered incomplete and will not be processed.

Visitation/Phone Calls Application

Note : All information fields must be completed before submitting the form. By completing and submitting this form, you are attesting to the truthfulness and accuracy of the information. Criminal background checks are conducted on all persons applying for visitation or phone call privileges.

All adult visitors applying for in-person/phone, and video visits must pay a one-time, non-refundable, $25.00 background check fee by Department Order 911. Those persons wishing to accept phone calls only from inmates are not required to pay the $25.00 background check fee and must apply for phone privileges utilizing the regular application process. Please refer to the "Need Help" link or Department Order 911 for a complete list of those persons who are exempt from the background check fee when applying for visitation.

Please allow 60 days to process the application, once the required payment, if applicable, and supporting documentation are received.

Once a decision has been made, the inmate will be informed of the outcome. It is the inmate's responsibility to inform the potential visitor of their visitation status.

It is recommended all visitors read Department Order 911 .


Friends and Family may use any of the three vendors by storefront/walk-up, phone, mobile app or internet. Below you will find the rates and vendor information needed to electronically pay for Visitation Background Fees.

Payment Site Links and Information:

  • Visitation Application Fee - Keefe Brochure (PDF)
  • Visitation Application Fee - GTL Brochure (English/PDF)
  • Visitation Application Fee - GTL Brochure (Spanish/PDF)
  • Visitation Application Fee - JPay Brochure (PDF)

Visitation Rules

ADCRR - Rules by Type

1. Online Application: Potential visitors and those persons only receiving calls from inmates may submit their application electronically. Once the application is completed and submitted: o Do not submit an application while the inmate is in the intake process at Alhambra or the intake process at Perryville o Applicable fee must be paid with 30 days o Failure to pay within 30 days will lead to automatic denial of application o If an application is denied you must wait 180 days to re-apply

2. Printed Application: Potential visitors or potential call recipients who do not wish to submit their application online may complete the application form, print it, and mail it directly to the Unit Visitation Office where the inmate is currently assigned: o Do not submit an application while the inmate is in the intake process at Alhambra or the intake process at Perryville o Applications submitted by mail must be in an envelope reading: "Attention Visitation Officer - Background Check Fee" when the fee is enclosed and reading: "Attention Visitation Officer" when the fee is not enclosed o Do not mail application to the inmate. It must be sent directly to the unit visitation officer or it will be voided Note: In both instances it is critical that all information fields and both sides are completed prior to submitting the form. By completing and submitting this form, you are attesting to the truthfulness and accuracy of the information. Criminal background checks are conducted on all persons applying for visitation or phone call privileges.

All adult visitors applying must pay a onetime, non-refundable, $25.00 background check fee in accordance with Department Order 911. Those persons wishing to accept phone calls from inmates and will not be visiting in-person must apply for phone privileges utilizing the regular application process. Please refer to the "Need Help" link or Department Order 911 for a complete list of those persons that are exempt from the background check fee when applying for visitation.

Properly completed visitation applications shall be processed and approved or denied within 60 days on receipt of the application and verified payment, if applicable.

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Conjugal Visit Laws by State 2024

California refers to these visits as contact visits. Conjugal visits have had a notorious past recently in the United States , as they were often not allowed to see their family unless it was for brief contact or to speak with them on the phone. Conjugal visits began as a way for an incarcerated partner to spend private time with their domestic partner, spouse, or life partner. Historically, these were granted as a result of mental health as well as some rights that have since been argued in court. For example, cases have gone to the Supreme Court which have been filed as visits being considered privileges instead of rights.

The right to procreate, religious freedom, marital privacy and to abstain from cruel and unusual punishment has been brought up and observed by the court. Of course, married spouses can't procreate if one is incarcerated, and this has been a topic of hot debate in the legal community for years. Although the rules have since been relaxed to allow more private time with one's family, especially to incentivize good behavior and rehabilitation, it is still a controversy within social parameters.

In 1993, only 17 states had conjugal visit programs, which went down to 6 in 2000. By 2015, almost all states had eliminated the need for these programs in favor of more progressive values. California was one of the first to create a program based around contact visits, which allows the inmate time with their family instead of "private time" with their spouses as a means of forced love or procreation.

Washington and Connecticut

Connecticut and Washington have similar programs within their prison systems, referring to conjugal visits as extended family visits. Of course, the focus has been to take the stigma away from conjugal visits as a means of procreation, a short time, and a privilege as a result of good behavior. Extended family visits are much more wholesome and inclusive, giving relatively ample time to connect with one's family, regardless if they have a partner or not. Inmates can see their children, parents, cousins, or anyone who is deemed to have been, and still is, close to the prisoner.

Of course, there are proponents of this system that say this aids rehabilitation in favor of being good role models for their children or younger siblings. Others feel if someone has committed a heinous crime, their rights should be fully stripped away to severely punish their behavior.

On a cheerier note, New York has named its program the "family reunion program", which is an apt name for the state that holds the largest city in America by volume, New York City. NYC's finest have always had their handful of many different issues, including organized crime. The authorities are seeking a larger change in the incarceration system and want to adopt a stance that focuses more on the rehabilitation of the inmate that shows signs of regret, instead of severe punishment for punishment's sake.

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Conjugal Visitation in American Prisons Today

Reference Shaun Esposito , Conjugal Visitation in American Prisons Today , 19 J. Fam. L. (1981).

Controversy and Conjugal Visits

Conjugal visits were first allowed as incentives for the forced labor of incarcerated Black men, the practice expanding from there. Is human touch a right?

An illustration of a bedroom with a prison guard tower through the window

“The words ‘conjugal visit’ seem to have a dirty ring to them for a lot of people,” a man named John Stefanisko wrote for The Bridge, a quarterly at the Connecticut Correctional Institution at Somers, in December 1963 . This observation marked the beginning of a long campaign—far longer, perhaps, than the men at Somers could have anticipated—for conjugal visits in the state of Connecticut, a policy that would grant many incarcerated men the privilege of having sex with their wives. Conjugal visits, the editors of The Bridge wrote, are “a controversial issue, now quite in the spotlight,” thanks to their implementation at Parchman Farm in Mississippi in 1965. But the urgency of the mens’ plea, as chronicled in The Bridge and the Somers Weekly Scene , gives voice to the depth of their deprivation. “Perhaps we’re whistling in the wind,” they wrote, “but if the truth hits home to only a few, we’ll be satisfied.”

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The men at Somers wrote of conjugal visits as something new, but in fact, Parchman had adopted some version of the practice as early as 1918. Parchman, then a lucrative penal plantation , sought to incentivize Black prisoners, who picked and hoed cotton under the surveillance of armed white guards, by allowing them to bring women into their camp. The visits were unofficial, and stories from the decades that followed are varied, ranging from trysts between married couples to tales of sex workers, bussed in on weekends. The men built structures for these visits out of scrap lumber painted red, and the term “ red houses ” remained in use long after the original structures were gone. The policy was mostly limited to Black prisoners because white administrators believed that Black men had stronger sexual urges then white men, and could be made more pliable when those urges were satisfied.

This history set a precedent for conjugal visits as a policy of social control, shaped by prevailing ideas about race, sexual orientation, and gender. Prisoners embraced conjugal visits, and sometimes, the political reasonings behind them, but the writings of the men at Somers suggest a greater longing. Their desire for intimacy, privacy and, most basic of all, touch, reveals the profound lack of human contact in prison, including but also greater than sex itself.

Scholar Elizabeth Harvey paraphrases Aristotle, who described the flesh as the “medium of the tangible,” establishing one’s “sentient border with the world.” Touch is unique among the senses in that it is “dispersed throughout the body” and allows us to experience many sensations at once. Through touch we understand that we are alive. To touch an object is to know that we are separate from that object, but in touching another person, we are able to “form and express bonds” with one another. In this context, Harvey cites the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who described all touch as an exchange. “To touch is also always to be touched,” she writes.

An illustration from Volume 3, Issue 4 of The Bridge, 1963

When Parchman officially sanctioned conjugal visits in 1965 after the policy was unofficially in place for years, administrators saw it as an incentive for obedience, but also a solution to what was sometimes called the “ Sex Problem ,” a euphemism for prison rape . Criminologists of the era viewed rape in prison as a symptom of the larger “ problem of homosexuality ,” arguing that the physical deprivations of prison turned men into sexual deviants—i.e., men who wanted to have sex with other men. In this context, conjugal visits were meant to remind men of their natural roles, not merely as practitioners of “ normal sexuality ,” but as husbands. (Framing prison rape as a problem of ‘homosexuals’ was commonplace until Wilbert Rideau’s Angolite exposé Prison: The Sexual Jungle revealed the predation for what it was in 1979.)

Officials at Parchman, the sociologist Columbus B. Hopper wrote in 1962 , “consistently praise the conjugal visit as a highly important factor in reducing homosexuality, boosting inmate morale, and… comprising an important factor in preserving marriages.” Thus making the visits, by definition, conjugal, a word so widely associated with sex and prison that one can forget it simply refers to marriage. Men—and at the time, conjugal visits were only available to men—had to be legally married to be eligible for the program.

But for the men at Somers, the best argument for conjugal visitation was obvious—with one telling detail. The privacy afforded by the red houses at Parchman, Richard Brisson wrote “preserve some dignity to the affair,” creating “a feeling of being a part of a regular community rather than … participating in something that could be made to appear unclean.” For lovers secluded in bedrooms, “[t]here is no one about to mock them or to embarrass them,” he wrote. This observation suggests the ubiquity of surveillance in prison, as well as its character.

Carceral institutions are intended to operate at a bureaucratic remove; prisoners are referred to by number and were counted as “ bodies .” Guards must act as ambivalent custodians of these bodies, even when the nature of their job can be quite intimate. Prisoners are routinely strip-searched and frisked; they must ask permission to exercise any movement, to perform any bodily function. This is as true today as it was in Somers, where men frequently complained that they were treated like children. “You are constantly supervised, just as if you were a one-year-old child,” Ray Bosworth wrote in 1970 .

But guards are not parents, and the tension between dutiful ambivalence and intimate supervision often manifests as disgust. On a recent visit to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum-security women’s prison in upstate New York, prisoners complained of being ridiculed during strip searches, and hearing guards discussing their bodies in the corridors.

Sad young woman and her husband sitting in prison visiting room.

This attitude extends to rules regulating touch between prisoners and visitors. Writing about San Quentin State Prison in California in the early 2000s, the ethnographer Megan L. Comfort described a common hierarchy of visits , each with its own allowable “degree of bodily contact.” Death Row cage visits allowed for hugs in greeting and parting, while a contact visit allowed for a hug and a kiss. The nature of the kiss, however, was subject to the discretion of individual guards. “We are allowed to kiss members of our families, hello and goodbye, but the amount of affection we may show is limited by the guard,” James Abney wrote for the Somers Weekly Scene in 1971.  “If he feels, for instance that a man is kissing his wife too much or too passionately, then he may be reprimanded for it or the visit may be ended on the spot.”

When Somers held its first “ Operation Dialogue ,” a “mediated discussion” among prisoners and staff in May 1971, conjugal visits were a primary concern. By then, California (under Governor Ronald Reagan) had embraced the policy—why hadn’t Connecticut? Administrators argued that furloughs, the practice of allowing prisoners to go home for up to several days, were a preferable alternative. This certainly would seem to be the case. In August 1971, the Scene quoted Connecticut Correction Commissioner John R. Manson, who criticized the skeezy, “tar-paper shacks” at Parchman, concluding that furloughs were “ a less artificial way for inmates to maintain ties with their families .” But to be eligible for furloughs, men were required to be within three or four months of completing their sentence. In the wake of George H.W. Bush’s infamous “ Willie Horton ” campaign ad in 1988, a racially-charged ad meant to stoke fear and anti-Black prejudice in which a violent attack was blamed on Liberal soft-on-crime policies (specifically scapegoating Michael Dukakis for a crime committed on a prison furlough that predated his tenure as governor), prison furloughs were mostly abolished. They remain rare today, still looming in the shadow of the Horton ad.

Conjugal visits are considered a rehabilitative program because, as Abney wrote, it is in “society’s best interest to make sure that [a prisoner’s] family remains intact for him to return to.” Unspoken is the disregard for people serving long sentences, or life, making conjugal visits unavailable to those who might need them the most.

The campaign for conjugal visits continued throughout the 1970s. Then, in 1980, in a sudden and “major policy reversal ,” the state of Connecticut announced that it would instate a “conjugal and family visit” program at several prisons, including Somers. Subsequent issues of the Scene outline the myriad rules for application, noting that applicants could be denied for a variety of reasons at the discretion of prison administrators.

The earliest conjugal visits at Somers lasted overnight but were less than 24 hours in total. Men could have multiple visitors, as long as they were members of his immediate family. This change signaled a new emphasis on domesticity over sex. Visits took place in trailers equipped with kitchens, where families cooked their own meals. Describing a similar set-up at San Quentin more than two decades later, Comfort wrote that the trailers were meant to encourage “people to simulate an ordinary living situation rather than fixate on a hurried physical congress.”

By the early 1990s, conjugal visitation, in some form, was official policy in 17 states. But a massive ideological shift in the way society viewed incarcerated people was already underway. In a seminal 1974 study called “What Works?”, sociologist Robert Martinson concluded that rehabilitation programs in prison “ had no appreciable effect on recidivism .” Thinkers on the left saw this as an argument for decarceration—perhaps these programs were ineffective because of the nature of prison itself. Thinkers on the right, and society more broadly, took a different view. As (ironically) the Washington Post observed, the findings were presented in “lengthy stories appearing in major newspapers, news magazines and journals, often under the headline, ‘ Nothing Works! ’”

Martinson’s work gave an air of scientific legitimacy to the growing “tough-on-crime” movement, but the former Freedom Rider, who once spent 40 days at Parchman, spawned punitive policies he couldn’t have predicted. In 1979, Martinson officially recanted his position. He died by suicide the following year.

In Mistretta v. United States (1989), the court ruled that a person’s demonstrated capacity for rehabilitation should not be a factor in federal sentencing guidelines because, they wrote, studies had proved that rehabilitation was “an unattainable goal for most cases.” It effectively enshrined “nothing works” into law.

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“Nothing works” gave rise to harsher sentencing, and more punitive policies in prisons themselves. In 1996, the state of California drastically reduced its conjugal visitation program . At San Quentin, this meant conjugal visits would no longer be available for people serving life sentences. To have benefitted from the program, and then have it taken away, was a particular blow to prisoners and partners alike. One woman told Comfort that she was in “mourning,” saying: “To me, I felt that it was like a death. ”

We don’t know how the men at Somers might have felt about this new era, or the heyday of conjugal visits that came before it. There are no issues of the Weekly Scene available after 1981 in the American Prison Newspapers collection, which is just after the visits began. But their writing, particularly their poetry, offers some insight into the deprivation that spurred their request. In 1968, James N. Teel writes, “Tell me please, do you ever cry, / have you ever tried to live while your insides die? ” While Frank Guiso , in 1970, said his existence was only an “illusion.” “I love and I don’t, / I hate and I don’t / I sing and I don’t / I live and I don’t,” he writes. But for others, disillusionment and loneliness take a specific shape.

“I wish you could always be close to me,” Luis A. Perez wrote in a poem called “ The Wait ” 1974:

I will hold your strong hand in my hand, As I stare in your eyes across the table. Trying to think of the best things to say, I then notice how I will not be able. I will long for your tender embraces, For your long and most desirable kiss. As I sleep cold for warmth of your body, You my love, are the one I will miss…

Today, only four states—California, Connecticut, Washington and New York—allow conjugal visits. (Mississippi, where Parchman is located, ended conjugal visitation in 2014 .) Some argue that Connecticut’s Extended Family Visit (EFV) program, as it is now called, doesn’t actually count , because it requires a prisoner’s child to be there along with another adult . There is also some suggestion that Connecticut’s program, while still officially on the books, has not been operational for some time.

The COVID-19 pandemic gave further cause to limit contact between prisoners and visitors, engendering changes that don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

Somers was reorganized as a medium-security facility and renamed the Osborn Correctional Institution in 1994. A recent notice on the facility’s visitation website reads: “​​Masks must be worn at all times. A brief embrace will be permitted at the end of the visit .”

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What Jodi Arias' Life In Prison Is Really Like

Jodi Arias turns to side in prison uniform

While all murders are horrific in nature, there are those that stand out as exceptionally gruesome, like the killing of Travis Alexander . In 2008, the victim was brutally stabbed 27 times and then shot in the head by his ex-girlfriend, Jodi Arias .

The crime was so shocking that it spawned headlines from media outlets across the nation and made the killer notorious, after she was convicted of first-degree murder in 2013. And her infamy only increased after the release of the Lifetime film, "Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret," which soon became the most successful true crime flick on the network.

Even after years behind bars, Arias still receives a decent amount of media attention. This is partly due to the information she releases herself, but also because of the unsettling details that have been made public about the interactions she has had with individuals while locked up. These accounts of others and personal blog posts, on top of inmate files, all give a view into what her life in prison is really like.

She was transferred to a few different prisons

After Jodi Arias was convicted for the first-degree murder of Travis Alexander in May 2013, she was eventually moved to Perryville Prison in Goodyear, Arizona, to serve out her life sentence without the possibility of parole. And one of the more disturbing aspects of this location is that the facility is not even an hour away from her victim's hometown of Mesa, Arizona.

But before the move to her long-term confinement, Arias was transferred between a few different detention centers within the local prison system, including the Arizona State Prison Complex, the Estrella Jail, and the Maricopa County Jail.

It was at the Estrella location that she met her cellmates, Tracy Brown and Donovan Bering, and became friends with the two women — until they both realized that it was a mistake to form a close relationship with the convicted killer.

She was moved from maximum to close custody

It might not be surprising to hear that the first two years were some of the worst of Jodi Arias' long sentence. Initially, the convicted felon was held in maximum custody at Perryville Prison, and not only was the cell setting rather claustrophobic at 12 feet by 7 feet, but she was forced to remain there for 23 hours of the day. Arias was allowed to see visitors for two hours a week, yet these interactions were separated by thick glass.

Although she remained at Perryville, Arias was eventually put into the less restrictive close custody, where she could have cellmates again, as well as interact with the other prisoners in a group.

In the following years, the convict enjoyed increased freedom and kept busy working at her unit's library. Arias began the part-time gig as a library aide in 2018, whereas before that, she had the unpleasant task of scrubbing toilets. The new job came with a pay cut of 10 cents, but since she was only making 50 cents an hour anyway, the change definitely appeared worth it.

The food options are not all terrible

After rapper Kareem "Lefty" Williams produced a video about Jodi Arias, the two managed to get in touch via a phone call in 2016, which ended up being posted by  RadarOnline . In the conversation, the felon provides a brief view of her life on the inside and admits that her situation is not always bad, especially when it comes to the food she is provided. And she usually gets a heads-up when her favorites are available, because there is a new menu posted every week.

However, Arias does make the options from Monday through Friday sound rather bleak, saying , "On the weekends they give us a hot dinner, on the weekdays it's like sandwiches. Nothing is very good." Yet, on the other hand, the cooked meals served at the end of the week seem like a real treat. She described some of the delicious offerings and said, "We had chicken fajitas here tonight. Really good." Arias then added, "A big old pile of caramelized onions, some bell peppers, like, all the works." 

It did not end there, as she later described her breakfast with hash browns, bell peppers, onions, and cheese, along with buttered pancakes, syrup, cereal, fruit, and a sausage patty — all of which sound like a decent, well-rounded meal too. Just like with the dinners, Arias said the morning meals are always better on the weekends.

She has access to several TV channels and radio stations

While Jodi Arias may be physically prohibited from leaving the penitentiary, her exposure to information from the outside world is not as limited. In her recorded phone call with rapper Kareem "Lefty" Williams in 2016 (via RadarOnline ), the convict revealed she can listen to any FM radio station that she wants, along with a long list of TV channels. The latter include Univision, Freeform, ABC, CBS, PBS, FOX, BET, CNN, TNT, USA, Lifetime, and A&E, along with a station focused on Brigham Young University, and two more for Catholics and Protestants.

On top of the regular TV channels, Arias mentions that she can also view some digital media, but her overall access to the internet has restrictions, and she seemed disinterested in those options anyway. However, in her recent comments on the website , she does also talk about having her own tablet with a news app installed, so it appears that not everything online is blocked during her incarceration.

She has received a lot of criticism from the public

Being locked up was not as much of an isolating experience for Jodi Arias as it would seem, for her links to the outside world went beyond the consistent visitors, TV shows, and radio stations. In his conversation with Arias, Kareem "Lefty" Williams mentioned that he has received a lot of strong criticism and straight-up hateful comments over his video featuring the prisoner, and her supportive response was very telling about how she viewed her own situation regarding the public back in 2016 (per RadarOnline ).

Arias first laughed it off and replied , "Oh yeah, haters are gonna hate." Williams then said that both of them might be two of the most hated people alive, so Arias responded by describing how her situation was the polar opposite, saying, "It's all good. If this is what it is like to be hated, then keep hating! I've had so much love coming in my direction I can't even respond to it now."

Friends help keep Jodi Arias active on social media

During the many years that Jodi Arias has spent locked up, her links to the world outside have often been quite solid because of help from friends. One particular connection with Donavan Bering (pictured above) was extremely helpful, because in 2013 Bering handled the numerous posts on all of Arias' social media accounts. During their interactions, Arias gave specific directions on exactly what to say and who to communicate with.

When asked by ABC News about why Bering sacrificed so much of her time and energy to assist Arias, she responded by saying, "I find it really hard to believe what happened, knowing her. Never, ever have I seen her raise her voice, seen her yell, seen her do anything."

However, Bering's opinion of Arias since soured, having witnessed her dark side through her manipulative behaviour. And it seems Arias has managed to find someone else to take Bering's place, because some years later, in 2018, prison officials were fully aware of her strong social media presence.

Art is a means to make cash on the inside

Possibly the most enriching way that Jodi Arias has used the internet, and her network of friends outside of prison, is through the selling of her artwork on her personal website, Art By Jodi Arias . 

In her bio, Arias explains why she began to do so: "The act of creating art has been with me since I was old enough to hold a crayon and has remained a part of my life in varying degrees, from mere dabbling to blissful obsession." But she also admitted that her reasoning had to do with struggling while incarcerated, for she added: "I often felt hungry in jail, and my family could do little to financially support me, an adult who should have been feeding herself."

Paintings and drawings are not the only types of art that Arias has been paid for while behind bars. When interviewed by Inside Edition , Tracy Brown gave details on how her former cellmate worked as a tattoo artist for fellow inmates, and also showed off the tattoos that Arias had done for her.

She manipulates people in and out of prison

It took years before Donavan Bering and Tracy Brown realized Jodi Arias' true nature and then ended their friendship with her, so it was not until more recently that the two revealed what their former cellmate was like on the inside. When talking with "Inside Edition," Brown (pictured above) explained how Arias would manipulate anyone she could, including prison guards, fellow inmates, or even people outside of prison when possible. She then added, "She will use you to get what she wants, and when she's done with you, she will throw you away."

In the episode "Jodi Arias: Cellmate Secrets" (via "Inside Edition" ), Bering certainly agreed about Arias, especially since she felt fooled into defending her for so long, even after witnessing what the felon was capable of. Bering said, "She got away with things that other inmates didn't get away with. She was a very attractive young girl who liked to flirt, and the male guards just ate it up."

Aside from Bering's dedicated social media management, Arias also benefited greatly from what she was able to obtain from the prison guards, including the means to perform her side hustle. Brown also said, "There were a couple officers, you know, she would flirt with and fly her hair with. And they would find the tattoo equipment, things you can get in trouble for."

She has received several perks while locked up

In the southern regions of the U.S., high temperatures can be extremely dangerous for prison inmates. In Arizona, where Jodi Arias is serving her jail sentence, the heat can reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, with conditions sometimes leading to hospitalizations and even deaths, as reported by The Daily Beast . Fortunately for Arias, however, she has often been provided with resources to mitigate the danger — and provide comfort that many other incarcerated individuals do not have access to.

Within the first few years of her incarceration, a post on Arias' website revealed that prison guards were supplying ice in a Styrofoam cooler for her to use with her fan (via RadarOnline ). But after an unstable man announced that he would attempt to break her out of confinement, in 2021, Arias was moved to another cell with the luxury of air conditioning.

Over the years, Arias has had access to other perks too, such as a respectable collection of magazines, and has been allowed to have some fashion options — such as a set of brand-new tennis shoes.

Her life has been threatened

Prison isn't easy, and there are plenty of incarcerated individuals who have had a far worse experience than Jodi Arias. However, that is not to say that her life has been pleasant either, with probably the worst aspect being the terrifying threats that have been made against her.

In 2015, Arias was sent a letter that was confiscated before it reached her, which warned that there was a plot to hire an inmate to harm her. Then, in the following year, Arias claimed (via 12News ) another inmate was heard yelling at her, "I'm going to [expletive] kill you [expletive] the same way you killed [redacted name]."

Six years later, in 2021, another event occurred that was more bizarre than life-threatening: A man whom Arias had never met before decided that he was going to rescue her from prison — and was caught in the process. For her safety, Arias was moved to a more secure location, and was forced to pause daily activities she enjoyed, like working at the library. But it wasn't all bad — she did get air conditioning in the new cell.

She took steps to get married

While Jodi Arias was on trial for the brutal murder of Travis Alexander, in 2012, a wealthy art collector named Ben Ernst somehow became smitten with her from afar. Even though he was already dating another woman, Ernst and Arias began communicating, as one of his friends told In Touch , "They quickly became buddies and eventually were talking on the phone about three times a week."

By 2016 Arias had been convicted, and yet the couple had become so serious that Arias began to make plans for their wedding — and even a child. But her imprisonment was a major obstacle, so she wrote a letter to her friend and mitigation specialist, Maria De La Rosa, that said: "Ben can't come visit. So, here's what he needs to do. If we marry, then he can petition a court to grant us visitation,"

Ultimately, the marriage did not happen, yet that did not stop her boyfriend from making many visits to see her in the following years. In 2019, the visitors' logs obtained by RadarOnline revealed that Ernst still went to see Arias several times a month. Although conjugal visits are prohibited in the Arizona prison system, the visits were likely intimate nonetheless, for some were several hours long.

Her visitor restrictions were lessened

After Jodi Arias' sentencing, her visitor privileges were extremely limited. Not only were the visits no-contact with a glass wall in between, but she was only allowed to have two hours a week with her guests. Furthermore, her list of approved visitors was limited to 20, and each one had to both pay a fee and pass a background check to see her.

In 2016, Arias excitedly talked about how she would soon have contact visits in her phone call with Kareem "Lefty" Williams. Ever since, she has often had guests, and most of them are not a surprise. According to the visitors' logs obtained by RadarOnline , her mother, Sandra, and her brother and sister — Joseph and Angela, respectively — have all come to Perryville to see her, on top of the frequent visits of boyfriend Ben Ernst. 

On the other hand, one of Arias' visitors does stand out as more than a little strange: Marc McGee, a friend of Travis Alexander — the man she was convicted of murdering — was another individual with an entry in the log.

Her legal team has failed with appeals

In 2020, reports of misconduct and sexual harassment from prosecutor Juan Martinez were so egregious that they led first to his firing, and then disbarment in July. Since he was the attorney in Jodi Arias' trial, her legal team quickly seized the opportunity and appealed the court's decision. Not only was it revealed that Martinez had given the identity of a juror on the case to a blogger he was sleeping with, but Arias' lawyers also argued that the judge didn't do enough to control the media coverage, depriving her of the right to a fair trial.

While the Arizona Court of Appeals was critical of Martinez's behavior, the ruling made it clear that it had nothing to do with the outcome of the murderer's case. The statement read: "We conclude that Arias was convicted based upon the overwhelming evidence of her guilt, not as a result of prosecutorial misconduct" (via AP ). The ruling also added: "We strongly disapprove of his actions; we are compelled to follow the well-established principle that we do not 'reverse convictions merely to punish a prosecutor's misdeeds.'" 

The failure of the appeal, on top of there being no chance for parole, means that Arias will likely continue living in similar conditions as she does now for the entirety of her life sentence.

She received several disciplinary actions

In 2015, Jodi Arias was imprisoned under the watchful eye of Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. (That name should definitely sound familiar: Elected to the Maricopa County office in 1992, he's long billed himself as "America's toughest sheriff," until his career hit a series of accusations and charges that ended up putting him in a position to require a pardon from President Donald Trump.) Arpaio and Arias made joint headlines when it was announced that he had cracked down on her previously-enjoyed privileges, banning some visitors and phone calls, along with suspending her access to the commissary.

Arpaio said that she had been found violating prison rules in a few ways: She was accused of communicating with minors, skirting monitoring regulations by passing messages through other inmates, and having visitors that also violated policy in various ways, including using fake names. Arpaio made his position clear, saying (via CBS News ): "Arias needs to understand that while she is in my jail, she is to obey all the rules and breaking them has consequences."

Arias was also reprimanded in 2016, and her privileges were revoked once again. This time, it was after calling a corrections officer an offensive name. The report (via ABC News ) claimed that she had admitted using the X-rated term after being denied a haircut. Arias lost visitation privileges for about 200 days, in spite of her explanation that "other inmates talk that way all the time and [I] figured it was ok."

She took the grand prize in a Christmas singing contest

It's easy to overlook just how slow the arrest, trial, and sentencing of Jodi Arias was. After being arrested in 2008, she wasn't convicted until 2013. In between, she was held in facilities overseen by Arizona's Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, and it's worth saying that for starters, the food was almost unthinkingly bad. Female inmates went on a hunger strike in 2014 in protest of the dire food conditions, and the year before, he made headlines for serving a 56-cent Thanksgiving dinner. That might explain why, in 2010, Arias literally sang for her supper.

The performance (pictured) came during what AZ Central described as "a reality-show-type singing contest at his jails," and the prize was an actual Christmas dinner — complete with turkey, trimmings, and cookies. Arias hadn't yet reached the infamy that she would later achieve so it sort of flew under the radar when it happened, but her rendition of "O, Holy Night" ended up impressing the judges and taking the top spot. Recordings have been made public, and they were broadcast throughout the entire jail on that Christmas. It wasn't a punishment, either: She's almost surprisingly good.

She keeps in touch with pen pals and visitors

In addition to keeping in touch with former cellmates, Jodi Arias is also allowed regular mail and visits from people she's struck up a relationship with via letters. In 2015, Feminine Collective columnist Dori Owen wrote about going to visit Arias after having exchanged letters for a time. She said that she ended up visiting regularly, and stressed that they didn't discuss her case. Instead, they swapped book and author recommendations, and even formed their own private book club. Owen wrote, "The only Jodi I know is the one I see for 30 minutes every few weeks. I still hold on to my belief that it is not my role to judge, but rather to be an extremist offering love and small kindnesses."

Others have gone public with the beliefs they developed after writing or chatting with her. A man identified only as Jake appeared on HLN's Nancy Grace , and said that after four years of exchanging regular letters, he'd come to the conclusion that she'd only killed in self-defense.

Not all interactions have gone smoothly, though. In 2019, the Daily Mail got copies of a notice where one visitor was banned after attempting to smuggle contraband — alcohol-soaked pads — into Arias. Steve Joyner reportedly struck up a friendship with her while she was in jail, and was one of 20 people that she had named on a list of people she would accept visits from. According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, she wasn't reprimanded in the incident.

Unilag Law Review

  • Online Forum

Conjugal Rights for Prisoners: To Be Or Not To Be?

  • Posted by ULR
  • Categories Online Forum
  • Date January 21, 2018
  • Comments 1 comment


Human rights are the basic and inalienable guarantees that describe certain standards of human behaviour, and are regularly protected as legal rights in municipal and international laws. A correctional facility such as a prison serves to confine and rehabilitate prisoners, and it is often said that human rights do not stop at prison gates. However, the conditions of confinement in many prisons today have been the object of concern all over the world. One of such is conjugal rights for prisoners, which remains a controversial issue with two distinct points of argument. This paper discusses the objectives of imprisonment, explains the concept of conjugal rights, considers the arguments for and against it and posits that imprisonment should not amount to its suspension.


Prisons in Africa are often considered the worst in the world, while other prison systems are worse in terms of violence, overcrowding and a host of other problems. This is not to argue that prisons in Africa are human rights friendly as many are in deficient condition and their practices are at odds with human rights standards.

The objectives of imprisonment can be summarised into four: retribution; deterrence; incapacitation; and rehabilitation. Retribution is punishment for crimes committed against the society by depriving criminals of their freedom, as a way of making them pay for their crimes. Incapacitation refers to the removal of criminals from the society to facilitate the protection of the public. Deterrence entails the prevention of the commission of future crimes. It is hoped that prisons provide warnings to people thinking about committing crimes and that the possibility of being imprisoned will discourage people from breaking the law while also serving as an instrument for the reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners. Also, it is submitted that what is needed is proper manual to bring behavioural changes in the prisoners to ensure that the chances of them going back into crimes upon release are slim to none.


Conjugal rights are the sexual rights or privileges implied by, involved in and regarded as exercisable in law, by each partner in a marriage. They refer to the mutual rights and privileges between two individuals arising from the state of being married. These rights include mutual rights of companionship, support, sexual relations, affection and the like. The act of a husband or wife staying separately from the other without any lawful cause is referred to as subtraction of conjugal rights.


Conjugal rights are usually exercised through visitation for prisoners. 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, usually his or her legal spouse during which both parties may engage in sexual intercourse. This visitation could be from the spouse or partner of the inmate to the inmate within the walls of the prison, or through other means such as the provision of a structure by the prison where supplies such as soap, condoms, lubricants, bed linens and towels may be provided, or in certain cases where prisoners are allowed to leave the prison premises, to the outside world under supervision.

Some scholars posit that for an offender who is sentenced to imprisonment, his or her punishment is just imprisonment. Thus, the punishment should not deprive such an individual of his or her rights. According to this school of thought, the prisoner should only be punished by imprisonment which he or she has been convicted for in a fair judicial process in a just and independent court. This point of view serves as the bedrock for legal systems which provide for and permit conjugal visits for prisoners.

The generally recognised basis for permitting such visits in modern times is to preserve family bonds and increase the chances of success for a prisoner’s eventual return to normal life after release from prison. Additionally, they serve as an incentive to motivate inmates to comply with the various day-to-day rules and regulations of the prison, and to avoid any infringement which may result in disqualification from having conjugal visits. Those in favour of conjugal visits argue that it will help in the rehabilitation of inmates, prevent sexual harassment and depression in jail. They further argue that it gives psychological relief to some prisoners and gets them to know that they are still responsible and that deprivation of conjugal rights amounts to double punishment. Furthermore, some of the supporters of this position assert that conjugal rights are God-given and not government-given and that it would be unfair to the partners of convicts to deny them conjugal rights as though they were also convicted.

Out of the 196 countries in the world, only a few permits conjugal visits for their prisoners. Some of these countries include: Australia; Canada; Denmark; Germany; Israel; Mexico; India; Jamaica; Pakistan; Saudi Arabia; Spain; United Kingdom; and the United States of America (USA). However, it is important to note that of all fifty states in the USA, only four (Connecticut, New York, California and Washington) currently allow conjugal visits, which are otherwise known as extended family visits.5 Also, these rights do not exist in the USA federal prison system. In addition, conjugal visits are considered a privilege for prisoners who have exhibited good behaviour during their term of incarceration.

In the USA, the Supreme Court and several courts have held that prisoners do not have a constitutional right to conjugal visits. In Pakistan, the Sindh home department grants conjugal rights to convicted inmates under which they would be allowed to meet their spouses for one day or night in 3 months. A notification was issued following a Supreme Court order on 6 April 2010 to implement same in all the provinces and is part of the government’s jail reforms. Jamaica recently adopted this position following the announcement made by the National Security Minister, Robert Montague, where he stated that he believes that allowing inmates to have sexual relations with their partners will be beneficial. This development in Jamaica however, has been highly criticised.

On the other hand, the argument against conjugal rights for prisoners is centered on the position that punishment should not come with perks. This school of thought, while recognising that prisoners are human beings entitled to basic human rights, posits that punishments cease to have meaning when they come with perks. Sending someone who has been convicted of a crime to prison is the government’s way of giving the convict the opportunity to take time off their usual lifestyle, reflect upon their actions and hopefully, be molded and reformed to be law abiding citizens. Here, it is regarded that depriving prisoners of pleasures such as sex is to serve as a way of understanding that there are repercussions other than loss of rights to liberty and movement when crimes are committed.

In some states where prisoners are not allowed conjugal rights, there have been reported actions both in and outside of courts where the recognition and acknowledgement of these rights are being fought for. Premium Times Nigeria reported over two years ago that Charles Okah sued the Nigerian government, wanting inter alia, the allowance of conjugal visits in prison. The applicant sought a declaration that the refusal of the respondents to allow for conjugal visits to the prison breached the fundamental rights of both convicted and awaiting trial inmates. Also, the Parliament’s committee on Human Rights in Uganda tasked the Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr. Johnson Byabashaija to explain why prisoners, especially those serving long sentences were not allowed to enjoy conjugal rights. Byabashaija responded, saying that Uganda’s laws have no provision for conjugal rights because they are one of the several limited rights with those in the conflict with the law. He also added that though the law is silent on the matter, allowing conjugal visits would stretch the already small budget allocated to prisons in Uganda. These actions show the eagerness and readiness of a significant portion of the citizenry of these countries to accept conjugal rights for prisoners in these states.

Under Islamic law, the prison system is a little different, as there are rare cases for imprisonment. In addition, imprisonment here is not the foundation of punishment, rather, it is supplementary and mainly for simple offences. Prisoners here are often incarcerated at the discretion of the judge and usually for offences that have no specific punishment, or in cases where such a prisoner is deemed to be very harmful to the society. Generally, such prisoners enjoy all rights, (including conjugal rights), except the right to freedom of movement. However, for serious crimes, if in the course of discipline, the state decides that depriving the prisoner of certain things will aid the rectification of such a prisoner; conjugal rights may be denied if they happen to be a part of those things.

In the study of criminology, one realises that the inability to find a balance between the objectives of imprisonment, especially punishment and rehabilitation accounts for the main reason for the failure of the prison system. The rate of recidivism all over the world affirms this. According to a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the USA, about 68 percent of 405,000 prisoners released in 30 states in 2005 were arrested for a new crime within three years of their release from prison, and 77 percent were arrested within five years. In 2010, the Ministry of Justice figures in the United Kingdom (UK) disclosed that 14 prisons in England and Wales, most of which hold short-term inmates, have re conviction rates of more than 70 percent. The statistics underline the long-term ineffectiveness of the criminal justice system at diverting persistent offenders from a life of crime. Consequently over time, it has been observed that the emphasis placed on punishment being an end result of imprisonment is a little excessive. The argument against granting conjugal rights to prisoners seems to fail to consider that extreme punishment tends to harden people in need of correction.

As important as the punishment factor is, it is relevant to keep in mind that while nothing can be done to change a crime or crimes that a prisoner might have committed, it is possible to effect change(s) to the character of such a prisoner. This may directly or indirectly prevent that prisoner from relapsing into the criminal world upon release. This can be achieved through the implementation of a technique that encompasses the four objectives of imprisonment aforementioned.

One of the biggest advantages to having a prison that allows conjugal rights through conjugal visits is that prisoners tend to follow the rules and be obedient, for fear of losing those rights. Family relationships have a huge impact on the prisoner’s motivation to be rehabilitated. This means that granting conjugal rights to prisoners will not only be a source of help and support to the prisoners during incarceration, but will also increase the chances of the prison system being more effective in securing the rehabilitation and reformation of prisoners.

On the long run, keeping the aforementioned points in mind, ceteris paribus , the advantages of granting conjugal rights outweigh the disadvantages. It is submitted that prisoners should be granted conjugal rights upon careful and proper regulation. If this is done, it is highly likely that the rate of recidivism will reduce. Furthermore, states are encouraged to grant conjugal rights where it is observed that such rights will assist a prisoner in his or her reformation process.

Halimat Temitayo Busari is a law student in her penultimate year. her interests in areas of law include but are not limited to: human rights; intellectual property and tax. She can be reached via mail at [email protected]

Tag: Africa , Conjugal Rights , Conjugal Rights for prisoners , Human Rights , Human Rights in Africa , Human Rights in Nigeria , Rights of Prisoners

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