Prisoner calls for conjugal visits
A prisoner has called for the introduction of conjugal visits as a "reward" for well-behaved inmates.
Christopher Pollock, who is serving a sentence at HMP Birmingham, said the ban on such visits in prisons across England and Wales "makes a mockery of the justice system" and quoted Winston Churchill to bolster his argument.
In a letter to Inside Times, a monthly newspaper for prisoners, 37-year-old Pollock, from Coventry, said: "I would like to know why prisoners in England and Wales are not permitted conjugal visits when this practice is widespread in other European countries.
"Surely they should be introduced here as a reward for good behaviour, particularly for remand prisoners who are, after all, innocent until proved guilty. It makes a mockery of the justice system when partners are being made to suffer unnecessarily.
"To quote Winston Churchill, 'The humanity of a society can be judged by the treatment of its prisoners'."
Pollock, who was jailed by a judge at Birmingham Crown Court last month for three years and three months after admitting conspiracy to import and supply drugs, said he had previously spent time in a Spanish prison where conjugal visits were "recognised as being important to the family unit".
He added: "I do not agree that public confidence would be affected by untried prisoners being granted conjugal visits, nor that major cultural and practical changes would be required, which has been the stance adopted by the Ministry of Justice.
"It would however pave the way for when the prison service in England and Wales finally has to come into line with Europe."
A Prison Service spokesperson said: "The Prison Service of England and Wales does not permit private or conjugal visits and there are currently no plans to change this.
"Imprisonment limits prisoners' activities and freedom of association to maintain the effectiveness of the punishment and public confidence. This policy on conjugal visits is consistent with judgements by the European Court of Human Rights."