Key Takeaways

Conjugal prison visits in Australia are permitted only in the State of Victoria. Every other State and Territory do not allow conjugal visits. Here we explain the meaning of a Conjugal visit, whether it should be allowed in all prisons, and the rules of conjugal visits.

The entire purpose of a conjugal visit is essentially to reduce reoffending for purposes of community safety.

Conjugal Visits in Australia Conjugate vs Conjugal
Are you Allowed to Visit Your Partner? | Conjugal Visits in Prison Define Inmate | Inmate Meaning
Australian Prison Conditions | Prisoners’ Rights in Australia South Australian Prisons
Prisons in WA Corrective Services NSW Training
Should All Australian Prisons Allow Conjugal Visit? Conjugal Rights

Conjugal Visits in Australia

Conjugal visits in jail are pre-arranged private prison visits when an inmate in prison is allowed to spend private time with a visitor, usually his/her partner. These are commonly referred to as a conjugal prison visit during which time prisoners are allowed to have sex with their spouse or partner. All States and Territories, except Victoria, prohibit conjugal visits to inmates. Conjugal visits in NSW are therefore not permitted for prisoners.

The main purpose of a conjugal visit is to allow and maintain an inmate’s family connections, which also assists in reintegration back into the community upon release from custody and ultimately reducing the chances of reoffending (recidivism). The overall impact of this is meant to make the community a safer less violent place.

Conjugal Visits Victoria | Conjugal Visit Rules

Can you visit your partner in Victoria? In Australia, Victoria is the only state in our nation that permits conjugal visits in Australian prisons subject to the conjugal visit rules. Section 38 and Section 37 Corrections Act 1986 (Vic) permits these sorts of visits for prisoners within Victoria, subject to conditions.

Section 37 allows a relative or friend who visits a prisoner to see and speak with the prisoner but is not allowed to touch the prisoner unless the visit is part of a contact visiting programme or residential visiting programme.

There are two main types of conjugal visits in Victoria, namely, the first is for an intimate partner relationship between the prisoner and his/her partner. The second is centred around the prisoner’s children.

Corrections Victoria may permit an inmate to have a conjugal visit in any of the following prisons:

  • Tarrengower Prison
  • Marngoneet Prison
  • Loddon Prison
  • Fulham Prison
  • Beechworth Prison

In order to be eligible for a conjugal visit, amongst the conditions required, the following conditions must be met:

  • The prisoner is either a medium or minimum security inmate,
  • The prisoner is serving an imprisonment sentence of 18-months or more,
  • The visitor has been screened and part of the prison’s approved visitor list.

How to Find Out If Someone is in Jail Victoria

Corrections Victoria can disclose to any member of the public as to whether a prisoner is in jail, and which prison he/she is an inmate in. Corrections Victoria will not disclose any more details than that. This means, they will not tell you if the person is under supervision in the community or any other contact details.

Corrections Victoria will first need consent from the prisoner or inmate before disclosing information about the prisoner to anyone else, except for court proceedings.

Corrections Victoria can disclose a prisoner’s information to the prisoner’s lawyer.

In order to access more personal information of a prisoner must be accessed through a freedom of information request. This can also be done online.

Define Conjugal Visit | Conjugal Visit Meaning

The visit explained: ‘Conjugal’ by its definition alone relates to marriage or the relationship between a couple and includes their sexual relationship. Therefore, a conjugal visit for a prisoner in jail is where the prisoner is allowed to have his/her partner visit them in jail for private time, which also permits them to have sex in jail.

Conjugal property on the other hand refers to a married or defacto couples property or assets. This may include property or assets acquired prior to or during the relationship.

Conjugate vs Conjugal

To explain the difference between ‘conjugate’ and ‘conjugal’, ‘conjugate’ on the one hand is 2 or more things joined together. This can include when two people get married, they become one. On the other hand, ‘conjugal’ (sometimes misspelt as ‘congical’) is an adjective describing all matters relating to marriage. These matters include the sexual relationship of a couple.

Are You Allowed to Visit Your Partner | Conjugal Visits in Prison

All prisoners who’re in jail are generally allows to be visited by their partner, family and friends in Australia. Each prison or correctional centre will have their logistical ways for people to book a prison visit. In contrast to a ‘normal’ prison visit, a conjugal visit allows the inmates partner or de-facto to visit and have sex while they are in prison during a pre-arranged private meeting time.

Define Inmate | Inmate Meaning

Definition of an ‘inmate’ is a person who is incarcerated or confined in a correctional centre, commonly referred to a prison or prison hospital. An inmate can end up being confined in a jail because of being bail refused as a result of serious criminal charges, in which case he/she will be an inmate during the court process until the case finalises. On the other hand, an inmate can end up being imprisoned as a result being sentenced for a serious criminal offence.

Conjugal Rights

Conjugal rights commonly refer to the rights, including sexual relations, that are exercisable by each partner or spouse in a relationship under law. It is often referred to as rights created by marriage and extends to other rights including property and assets.

Victoria is the only state in Australia that permits conjugal prison visits for prisoners as a conjugal right. All other states and territories do not recognise nor permit conjugal visits for inmates in their prisons.

Australian Prison Conditions | Prisoners’ Rights in Australia

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) information sheet outlines some of the issues concerning human rights in respect to prisoners or inmates in Australian prisons, Australian jail conditions and life in Australian prison. It also suggests how these human rights issues can be addressed.

Prisoners are inherently deprived of their liberty to be free in society. As a result, it makes an inmate vulnerable to discrimination and other human rights violations within the prison by other inmates and prison staff. This is especially so for juvenile inmates.

The AHRC reports that prison conditions within Australian prisons have significant human rights concerns, including the following:

  • Being placed in cells with other inmates they don’t feel safe with
  • Insufficient or inadequate mental health or physical health services. Being in solitary confinement, for example, exacerbates these issues.
  • Overcrowded conditions within some Australian prisons. The UN Human Rights Committee discovered inhuman treatment of an Aboriginal juvenile in a NSW prison. It found that a juvenile was put into isolation in an adult jail, exposed to artificial light for prolonged periods of time, and had some of his clothes removed.
  • Insufficient access to rehabilitation programs concerning alcohol and drugs, including harm minimisation programs. This leads to a high level of blood-borne virus transmissions.
  • Insufficient access to education services.

Some prison monitoring systems do exist in states and territories. However, there is no national standards for monitoring prison conditions and juvenile detention centres. To address this, our nations’ Government has expressed intentions of ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (OPCAT). This would create a national preventative way to monitor prison conditions across all prisons in Australia, in order to prevent human rights violations of inmates.

Otherwise, there are within each state and territory, anti-discrimination bodies, ombudsmen, and interna prison procedures to lodge complaints of such human rights violations. Federal prisoners can lodge a complaint directly to the Australian Human Rights Commission concerning human rights violations. However, even if the commission finds a human rights violation, its recommendations are not legally enforceable.

South Australian Prisons

South Australian Prisons
Yatala Labour Prison

  • Address: 1 Peter Brown Drive, Northfield, SA
  • Phone: (08) 8262 2421
Adelaide Women’s Prison

  • Address: Grand Junction Road, Northfield, SA
  • Phone: (08) 8343 0100
Adelaide Pre-Release Centre

  • Address: Grand Junction Road, Northfield, SA
  • Phone: (08) 8343 0100
Adelaide Remand Centre

  • Address: 208 Currie Street, Adelaide, SA
  • Phone: (08) 8216 3200
Mobilong Prison

  • Address: 434 Maurice Road, Murray Bridge, SA
  • Phone: (08) 8532 8911
Port Augusta Prison

  • Address: Highway 1, Stirling North, SA
  • Phone: (08) 8648 5400
Mount Gambier Prison

  • Address: 871 Carpenter Rocks Road, Moorak, SA
  • Phone: (08) 8723 8000
Cadell Training Centre

  • Address: Boden Road, Cadell, SA (about 300 metres south of Morgan-Cadell Rd and Hodge Rd)
  • Phone: (08) 8540 3600
Port Lincoln Prison

  • Address: Pound Lane, Port Lincoln, SA
  • Phone: (08) 8682 0800

South Australia has a total of 9 prisons outlined in the above table.

Of the above 9 prisons, Adelaide Women’s Prison, Adelaide Pre-Release Centre, Port Lincoln Prison and Cadell Training Centre are focused on reintegration for prisoners before being released back into the community.

Prisons in WA

The Department of Justice in Western Australia (WA) operates and manages 17 prisons. These prisons include prison farms that provide various security classifications from minimum, medium to maximum security.

Prisons in Western Australia
WA Prisons Contact Details
Bandyup Women’s Prison Address: 95 Middle Swan Road, West Swan, WA
Phone: (08) 9374 8700
Boronia Pre-release Centre for Women Address: 14-16 Hayman Road, Bentley, WA
Phone: (08) 9212 3600
Melaleuca Women’s Prison Address: Nicholson Road, Canning Vale, WA
Phone: (08) 6258 0205
Wandoo Rehabilitation
Prison for Women
Address: Corner Bramanti Rd and Murdock Drive, Murdoch, WA
Phone: (08) 9218 7900
Albany Regional Prison Address: Princess Ave, Albany, WA
Phone: (08) 9842 4444
Greenough Regional Prison Address: Edward Rd, Narngulu, WA
Phone: (08) 9923 6500
Roebourne Prison Address: Sampson Rd, Roebourne, WA
Phone: (08) 9182 0171
West Kimberley Prison Address: Lot 500 Derby Highway, Derby, WA
Phone: (08) 9161 6000
Broome Regional Prison Address: Hamersley St, Broome, WA
Phone: (08) 9193 8500
Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison Address: Vivian St, Boulder, WA
Phone: (08) 9093 5100
Casuarina Prison for Men Address: 288 Orton Rd, Casuarina, WA
Phone: (08) 9411 5333
Hakea Prison for Men Address: Nicholson Rd, Canning Vale, WA
Phone: (08) 9366 6333
Karnet Prison Farm for Men Address: Kingsbury Drive, via Serpentine, WA
Phone: (08) 9526 3200
Wooroloo Prison Farm for Men Address: Great Eastern Highway, Wooroloo, WA
Phone: (08) 9573 3000
Bunbury Regional Prison for Men Address: Centenary Rd, Bunbury, WA
Phone: (08) 9795 2155
Paedelup Prison Farm for Men Address: Muirs Hwy, Mt Barker, WA
Phone: (08) 9851 3700

In addition, the following are minimum security prison work camps:

  1. Warburton Work Camp for Men
  2. Wyndham Work Camp for Men
  3. Walpole Work Camp for Men
  4. Roebourne Work Camp for Men
  5. Dowerin Work Camp for Men

Corrective Services NSW Training

Corrective Services NSW contains the Brush Farm Corrective Services Academy which provides specialised quality training to prison staff and external clients. its purpose is to increase the effectiveness and skills of corrective services staff. The academy is considered leaders in correctional training for Corrective Services NSW.

They offer a wide range of training services, including Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training, Case Management and Report Writing, Correctional Officer Training, Mental Health Awareness, Security Awareness training and Working with Sex Offenders training.

Should All Australian Prisons Allow Conjugal Visits?

On the one hand, conjugal visits arguably increase the community safety by facilitating the ability of inmates to maintain family relationships, improved mental health, reduction in violence within prisons, easier re-integration into the community upon release from custody and maintenance of fundamental human rights by creating a more humane prison system. These factors all lead to a reduction in the likelihood of reoffending relevant to rehabilitation and community safety.

On the other hand, conjugal visits are frowned upon for the following reasons:

  • Deprivation of intimacy for offenders in prison is an inherent part of the punishment.
  • High level of resources, money and time goes into facilitating a conjugal visit for prisoners, placing arguably an undue strain on the system.
  • Some prisoners miss out on getting a conjugal visit while others do, is something that creates a sense of unfairness.
  • Safety concerns of visitors and inmates due to the physical contact nature of these visits.
  • The appearance or perception of coming across as ‘soft on crime’ impacting public confidence in the elected Government.

For more, here is another article on the offence and penalties of smuggling drugs into prison in NSW


A prisoner and his/her partner can get intimate and have sex during a conjugal visit. The visit occurs in a motel-type setting with the same levels of privacy.

Victoria is the only State that allows conjugal visits in prisons. All other States and Territories do not allow conjugal visits.

A conjugal visit is when a prison allows its prisoners to get sexually intimate with their partner’s during a prison visit, subject to rules and conditions that must be complied with. A conjugal visit also allows a prisoner to have contact visits from their children during a prison visit.

A prisoner does not have to be married to be allowed to have a conjugal visit with their partner. However, certain preconditions must be met before being allowed.

Conjugal visits can vary from minutes to days in private, depending on what country and prison permits it. The prison that approves a conjugal visit will usually inform the prisoner as to the permitted duration of the visit.

Victoria is the only place in Australia that allows conjugal visits for prisoners. All other states and territories prohibit it.

To find someone in jail in an Australian prison, you will need to contact the Corrective Services Department in the State or Territory you are in. They can only disclose limited information, unless the prisoner consents to disclosing personal details.

As Victoria is the only State that permits a conjugal visit, the prisons in Victoria that allow a conjugal visit include, Tarrengower Prison, Marngoneet Prison, Loddon Prison, Fulham Prison, and Beechworth Prison.

Conjugal visits still exist in Australia, with all Territories and States, except Victoria, that do not allow a conjugal visit.

Conjugal visits across Australia have generally stopped because of safety concerns of the visitors and inmates, deprivation of having the luxuries of freedom, including intimacy are a part of the purposes of punishment for the crime committed, the increased resources required to facilitate conjugal visits creates a greater burden on prisons, and it raises concerns of the public confidence in appearing too soft on crime.

Conjugal visits are a real thing, and are allowed in many parts of the world, including Australia. Victoria is the only place in Australia that facilitates and permits prisoners to have conjugal visits. No other place in Australia allows the visit.

Published on 15/10/2021

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AUTHOR Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.

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