Vietnam prisons to allow inmates private time with spouse: draft circular

Well-behaving prisoners in Vietnam will be allowed to meet with their spouse in a private cell, with female inmates required to use contraception, according to a recent draft circulation by the country’s Ministry of Public Security.

Vietnamese inmates participate in an activity in prison

Well-behaving prisoners in Vietnam will be allowed to meet with their spouse in a private cell, with female inmates required to use contraception, according to a recent draft circulation by the country’s Ministry of Public Security.

The Ministry on October 20 published a draft of its new circulation regulating prisoners’ rights to be visited; send and receive mails; receive money and items; and make phone calls with family members and relatives.

One of the circulation’s articles stipulated inmates’ rights to spend private time with their spouse, while female prisoners are required to make a commitment not to get pregnant during the act.

According to Col. Tran Huu Thong, a superintendent at Thu Duc Prison in southern Vietnam’s Binh Thuan Province, the allowance of inmates to meet with their spouse in private has been regulated in a previous circulation issued in 2011 by the Ministry.

Only rule-abiding inmates are granted this privilege, and the visiting husband or wife must be able to present their marriage certificate or other confirmation papers issued by local authorities in their neighborhood, Thong said.

“Female inmates are required to use contraceptive methods and make a written commitment not to get pregnant… This is a humane regulation that allows husbands and wives to spend time with each other [even in prison],” Thong said.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese lawyer Le Trung Phat suggested that prisons took the initiative to provide contraception for female inmates in order to minimize the chance of jail-time pregnancy, which would affect both the mother’s service in prison and the child’s well-being.

“Currently, prisons rely on inmates’ self-consciousness in employing contraceptive methods. However, not all prisoners are aware of this issue,” he lawyer explained.

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