Prisoners’ Right to Conjugal Visits in Ethiopia: An Insight into Laws


  • Alemu Balcha Adugna


Human rights, conjugal rights, prisoners, family visits


The right to Conjugal visit is recognized inherent right of married prisoners that extends up to the right to have sex and procreation. There are numerous arguments for and against conjugal visits. The arguments in favor of it are based on the human rights’ approach and its advantages for the reintegration of inmates, while the arguments against it are based on the difficulty in administering it and the lack of resources. Despite the debates against it, studies have revealed that allowing conjugal visits for prisoners can reduce the problems of homosexuality, sexual assaults, and physical violence in prisons. Further, denial of conjugal rights to the prisoners’ spouses could be a form of punishment for innocent victims. In addition, conjugal visits can incentivize good prisoners behavior and rehabilitation in prisons. Doctrinal legal research methodology is employed to assess the legal status of conjugal visits under Ethiopian laws.  Accordingly, the research finding shows that, in Ethiopia, the jurisprudence on the concept of conjugal rights is in its infancy stage. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) Constitution neither clearly allows nor prohibits the rights of the prisoners to conjugal visits. No interpretation is also made to clarify whether the constitution intends to deny the rights of the prisoners to conjugal visits or otherwise. Further, no other subsidiary legislation has conferred right to conjugal visit to prisoners. Hence, it is recommendable for Ethiopia to recognize prisoners’ conjugal visits via integration into its domestic legal framework.




How to Cite

Adugna, A. B. (2022). Prisoners’ Right to Conjugal Visits in Ethiopia: An Insight into Laws. Hawassa University Journal of Law, 6. Retrieved from