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'Sex-starved prisoners turn gay'

'Sex-starved prisoners turn gay'

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 12:50 IST

A study says homosexuality is on the rise in UP jails because prisoners don’t get conjugal visits.

The research by Mridul Srivastava, who compares Lucknow's Model Jail with Delhi's Tihar as well as with several other jails across the globe, makes a strong case for prison reforms in India.

Srivastava, a lecturer in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Administration Unit of Lucknow University's Social Work Department, calls for the revival of ‘pakki mulaqat’, a pre-Independence concept.

“The British, during their stay in India, knew that the sexual urge of prisoners should not be suppressed. Thus, they arranged two kinds of meetings for the prisoners — kacchi mulaqat and pakki mulaqat. In the latter, the convict was allowed to spend time with his wife in isolation within the jail. This way, the rights of the prisoner’s wife are safeguarded, besides ensuring that criminals are psychologically in a better frame of mind. This practice has been done away with," Srivastava says.

He says about 78.5 per cent of convicts in Model Jail and Tihar are married.

The research, carried out in 2003 with data updated in 2006, studied over 1,000 convicts. It points out that in several cases, convicts discover that their wives have either left them or have gone on to develop extra-marital relationships.

Some in Model Jail do get time off to visit their families. "But a convict gets that privilege only after several years in prison by which time the damage is already done," Srivastava says.