Prisoners in Punjab can now spend some time with their spouses as the prisons department has begun conjugal visits for inmates from Tuesday, claiming to be the first state to launch such a facility. Initially, conjugal visits will be allowed at the central jail in Goindwal Sahib, the new district jail in Nabha, and the women's jail in Bathinda, a senior official of the prisons department said.
Hardcore criminals, gangsters, high-risk prisoners, and inmates involved in sexual-related offenses will, however, not be allowed to avail of this facility. The visits -- allowed for prisoners exhibiting good conduct -- will last for two hours and the department has designated a separate room with an attached bathroom, the official said. "Priority will be given to those inmates who have had the longest stay in jails," the official said.
"According to the information we have, Punjab is the first state to implement conjugal visits in the country," he claimed. The department expects that this initiative will lead to the strengthening of matrimonial bonds and also ensure the good conduct of prisoners. Such visits will be allowed once in three months, the jail official added.
The visiting spouse will have to furnish proof of marriage and medical certificates declaring that he or she is free from HIV or any other sexually transmitted disease, Covid, or any other infectious disease. A few days ago, the prison department launched a programme for inmates, allowing them to meet their family members in the jail complex.
Under this programme, which was launched from the Ludhiana jail, inmates and undertrials can meet their loved ones in person for an hour, every quarter, in a specially designated room inside the jail complex. The family members could also enjoy meals with the inmates.