Study of Family Visits in a Women’s Prison in China

Shijia Huang


According to PRISON LAW OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, for each month, inmates have the right to have visitation with once at most three of their family (including parents, spouse, children, and siblings) or guardians. Inmates and their families or/and guardians enjoy the organized, inherent rights to stay together for at most 30 minutes during the visits, and enjoying some of the benefits of intimate relationships.

All of the prisons in China offer family visits programs. These visits are granted to male and female prisoners by law if certain criteria are met, such as a present of valid certificate for the relationship of the prisoner and their family.

Family visits are believed to have positive effects during and after confinement: includingthe reduction of sexual and nonsexual violence among inmates and the provision of opportunities to preserve family ties and marital stability(Turner, 2000). However, only a few studies have focused on the issue that the visits of different family members have different effect on women inmates and prisoners usually hold different attitudes toward the visits of different family members.

Fewer studies have focused on the effect of imprisonment on the mothers (Fogel, 1993; Fogel & Martin,1992; Houck & Loper, 2002; Hurley & Dunne, 1991; Lindquist & Lindquist, 1997), and the findings of these studies are inconsistent (Michal Shamai, 2008). Findings of studies revealed that conjugal visitations decreased violent behavior only in male prisons(Hensley et al., 2002). Although most studies on male inmates report positive result of conjugal visits, a single article sought women’s perspectives for the opposite (Michal Shamai, 2008), indicating that some female felt disapproval to their spouses’ visits. Female prisoners described wanting to reserve family’s funds for their children, making a connection between denying themselves “extra or junk” (Michal Shamai, 2008).

This  article uses analysis means to gather information in various aspects of women inmates’ live in the prison, their attitude to family visits, and their perspectives. The study basically  focuses on the understanding and analysis of the thesis and the interrelations between them.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the data of the conditions of different family visits to identify and analyze the connection between (a) the classifications of inmates’ crimes, (b)women inmates’ attitude toward these visits, (c) the inmates’ behaviors within the prison, and (d)inmate’s expectation for future.


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