Mississippi Prisons Ending Marital Visits

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Jackson, Miss. Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps says Mississippi prisoners will no longer be allowed to have conjugal visits, starting early next year.

Epps tells The Clarion-Ledger that he will end the program Jan. 31. It's been in place more than a century.

Republican state Rep. Richard Bennett of Long Beach says he's planning to file a bill in 2014 to end the program. But, Epps says he can make the change as commissioner, and no law is needed.

Bennett tells the newspaper he was shocked to learn that babies have been conceived during conjugal visits between two parents who are both incarcerated.

Epps says conjugal visits are allowed only for married inmates on their best behavior. He believes it helps keep families together and reduces sexual assault among prisoners.