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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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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