Let ’em knock up in lock-up

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Can a convicted murderer with seven years to go in the slammer be a family man? The UK’s Gavin Mellor says yes — and he’s taking his country to court to prove it. Since he is denied conjugal visits, Mellor wants the right to artificially inseminate his wife. Britain’s Home Office denied him even that — but prison rights activists say the UK should go farther and provide the “family visits” many other countries do, THE BBC reports.

“Rather than having a wife or girlfriend come for the explicit purpose of having sex what you need is family days, in which sex can be a part. What’s important is to preserve family ties during a prison term,” says a Howard League for Penal Reform spokesperson. In Spain, for example, prisoners are given condoms, shower facilities, and clean towels for their conjugal visits. France and Canada put their prisoners up in homestyle apartments during extended family visits, and even Russia lets inmates take a three-day break from prison labor to see loved ones twice a year.

Even in more enlightened countries, though, the rules aren’t perfect: While Brazil gives its male prisoners conjugal visits even if they’re gay, women’s are tightly regulated if granted at all.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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