MEMBERS of Parliament through the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice and Constitutional Affairs have renewed their call to the government to implement its strategic plan that will entitle married convicts to have conjugal rights, when serving their jail terms.
Committee chairman Mohamed Mchengerwa said in the National Assembly, when tabling his committee’s working report for 2018 that the government should prepare an enabling environment that would allow husbands or wives of inmates to visit their spouses in prison and enjoy their conjugal rights.
The committee wants convicts to meet with their spouses in gazetted shelters and have conjugal rights.
During debate on the committee’s report, a committee member, Ms Alfredina Kahigi, said: “Many families are breaking apart because of long sentences of their spouses. This needs to be addressed by none other than allowing them to enjoy their conjugal rights,” she stressed.
According to her, inmates are entitled to conjugal rights and denying them such rights is likely to cripple their ability to be fertile after spending many years without sexual intercourse.
Conjugal rights may be defined as the rights that a husband or wife is entitled to in a marriage, especially the right to have sexual intercourse with his or her spouse.
A conjugal visit is a scheduled period in which an inmate of a prison (or jail) is permitted to spend several hours or days in private with a visitor, usually his or her legal spouse during which both parties may engage in sexual intercourse.
In his report, Mr Mchengerwa said granting such right to inmates was one of the best practices still missing in Tanzania’s prisons department.
“The government should prepare its strategic plan under the Tanzania Prisons Service that will ensure married convicts are visited by their spouses and be entitled to conjugal rights on a proper plan that will be put in place by the responsible authorities,’’ he added.
According to him, this will help reduce diseases that many prisoners get, including HIV/Aids.