Everything You Need to Know About Conjugal Visits 

Mike Rothschild
Updated August 7, 2020 716.6k views 14 items

Conjugal visits are among the most cliched tropes featured in TV and movies about prison. However, prison conjugal visits are extremely rare in the US, allowed in just four states. Beyond that, the rules for them are extremely strict, with extended family visits (as they're now called) allowed for only a select few prisoners with clean records.

With their pop culture presence, one imagines conjugal visits taking place in cramped trailers all over the country. But this isn't true - and never really was. From their racist origins, to their ban in federal prisons, to the limitations placed on them, conjugal visits are one of the most misunderstood aspects of life behind bars. They're allowed for inmates in jail and prison all over the world, from liberal Europe to theocratic Middle Eastern countries - and the rules for them vary from border to border.

Here are some interesting things to know about conjugal visits and sex in prison, though hopefully you'll never have to worry about it.
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Convicts on the Verge of Release Get the Longest Visits
For states that allow them, visits come in a range of lengths. Extended family visits usually are available in lengths of six hours, 12 hours and 24 hours. The one day visit is an option only available to inmates with the best records, and who are within one year of their release. These visits are allowed on average once or twice a year for eligible convicts, and allow soon-to-be released prisoners to begin making the transition to family life.
Where Family Visits Are Allowed, They're Kinda Nice
State prisons that allow visits have special facilities devoted to them, ranging from cabins and trailers to apartment-style housing. For prisoners and spouses looking to make sweet prison love, they're provided towels, sheets, toiletries, condoms, and lube. Other prisons provide two-bedroom apartments with a living and dining room, DVD player, TV, and games. Some spouses are even allowed to bring groceries and prepared food to the visit.
Not Just Anyone Can Go on a Conjugal Visit
While specific requirements for conjugal visits vary in the states that allow them, they have shared minimum requirements. The vast majority of visits are allowed only in minimum to medium security prisons, for inmates with a record of good behavior and a record of clean health. A spouse who visits their husband/wife inmate must also pass a background check, go through a body search, and be registered with the prison’s visitor list.
Even Without Conjugal Visits, Inmates Still Get It on with Spouses
States that don't allow private family visits still allow inmates to see their spouses in public settings. And it doesn't stop these couples from having sex. In a Reddit AMA from 2012, a "prison wife" describes in great detail how "we don't get conjugal visits, but the correctional officers are pretty dense so we get away with having sex in there all the time." This couple takes advantage of outdoor visitation areas that don't have correctional officers watching them.