Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) has said that there are no provisions in the law to allow conjugal visits at the institution.
Jamaica recently announced plans for conjugal visits in prison.
A conjugal visit is defined as a scheduled period in which an inmate is permitted to spend several hours or days in private with a visitor, usually their legal spouse, during which time they may engage in sexual activity.
The visits are intended to, among other things, preserve family bonds and increase the chances of success for a prisoner’s eventual return to life after release.
However BCF Public Relations Officer, Kerwin Albert, told the Times in an interview that such visits are not allowed at the prison here.
“We do what is provided for by the law which is a normal social visit,” Albert explained.
He disclosed that there are also professional visits to inmates by Probation Officers and lawyers.
“We have not been directed by law to do any conjugal visits,” the BCF official stated.
He said such a matter would lie within the purview of the policy makers who are the ones directing what can be done at the BCF.
Albert told the Times that during social visits, inmates are allowed a minimum of thirty minutes to associate with visitors.
He said that under certain circumstances, the visitation period may be extended.
“If I may give an example – we have a dying relative; we have a relative who is overseas – all that is part of the rehabilitation process; we allow them to socialise. If there is a case where we have kids – if there is an inmate and he is incarcerated, probably the time he was incarcerated the girlfriend or wife was pregnant and the baby is born – we extend the visit,” Albert told the Times.
He stated that the visit occurs in the presence of a Correctional Officer but out of earshot of the officer.
According to him, before new Prison Director, Vern Guard took over in 2015 there were mostly non-contact visits where inmates were required to communicate with visitors from behind a glass.
Alfred explained that a change was made so that currently some ninety-nine percent of the visits are ‘contact’ visits, except in cases where inmates are violent.
He said contact visits mean that the inmate and the visitors are not separated by any barrier but are seated at a table.
“We would probably permit a hug, but nothing beyond that,” the BCF official told the Times.
“Both the inmate and the visitors are searched thoroughly,” he disclosed.
BCF currently houses 525 inmates, 8 of whom are female.
There are provisions for 45 visits a day.