For the first time in India, Punjab has allowed conjugal visits in prison. As per the initiative that began on Tuesday, prisoners can meet their spouses for 2 hours after every 2 months. They can spend some time with their spouses in secure rooms with attached bathrooms.
For now, the facility is only launched in three jails of Punjab including the central jail in Goindwal Sahib, new district jail in Nabha, and women’s jail in Bhatinda.
“Conjugal visits can strengthen family ties and improve marriage functionality since it helps to maintain intimacy between husband and wife. We are going to start these visits as a pilot project. Meanwhile, the one-hour family visit will be started in 15 jails, including Bathinda, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Patiala. Up to five family members, including spouse, children, parents, grandparents and siblings, will be allowed to meet the inmate in the ‘mulakat’ room in the jails. One family visit will replace two ordinary mulakats for an inmate, and this will be allowed on rotation basis every three months,” said an official.
On the first day of the Parivar Mulakat initiative, there were 21 conjugal visits by spouses of the inmates – four in women’s jail Bhatinda, five in Nabha, and 12 in Goindwal Sahib jail.
Considering positive feedback from the inmates, Director General of Police (Prisons) Harpreet Singh Sidhu has announced plans to launch the facility in six other jails by September end.
There are 26 jails in Punjab. Among them, there are ten Central jails, six district jails, five sub jails, two women jails, and one Borstal, Open and Maximum Security jail.
Sidhu further added that this initiative will channelize the energies of inmates and check any negativity, the prisons department had also started a physical training, parade, sports, and yoga program for inmates in jails across the state, where more than 70 percent of the inmates are already participating after its launch around a fortnight ago.
What Is Parivar Mulakat Scheme?
On September 15 this year, Punjab Jails Minister Harjot Singh Bains inaugurated the ‘Parivar Mulakat’ (family visit) scheme from Ludhiana central jail. It is an initiative under which inmates can meet their loved ones in person for an hour in a specially designated room inside the prison.
The criteria or conditions for Parivar Mulakat include
- The average time for these conjugal visits will be 2 hours.
- These visits will be allowed to be repeated after two months subject to the availability of infrastructure.
- Priority will be given to the shortlisted prisoners with good behaviour.
- Inmates should not be able to avail the facility when going on parole.
- Hardcore criminals, gangsters, high-risk prisoners, and inmates involved in sexual-related offences will not be allowed these visits for now.
- The visitors will have to furnish documentary proof of relationship (marriage certificate) and ID.
- The visitors will also have to submit a medical certificate issued by a government hospital of being free from HIV, STD, Covid or any other infectious disease.
- Special staff will be deputed to monitor those visits.
- Jail superintendents will have the power to set the timings and days for these visits.
- Family members in the group of up to five will be able to meet the inmate for one hour.