Prison sex visits would keep peace

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The Independent Online
Schemes to allow sex between inmates and their partners during visiting hours were praised by a chief prison inspector yesterday.

Clive Fairweather, Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, said that allowing "conjug- al rights" for offenders could help keep Scottish jails peaceful. His annual report highlights a Canadian system, in which fa- milies are allowed to make three-day visits to private chalets within the jail - which can include sexual relations.

But he draws back from recommending a similar system for Scotland as public opinion would be opposed to it.

The report recommends doubling visiting times for prisoners in Scotland in a bid to help offenders keep calm and drug-free. The report said it was impressed by the Canadian example, although it believes there could be a more "dignified" conjugal visiting system than those already operating in some European countries.

It called for improved family visiting facilities, arguing that families are the most important factor in helping prisoners break the habit of re-offending when they are released.

The question of sexual relations within jails was raised in a chief inspector's visit to Maidstone, in Kent, in June, when it was reported that prisoners were engaging in intimate behaviour with partners in front of other families and children.