One behind bars, the other free. In prison, a couple’s life is tested. How can a relationship last when concrete walls separate you?
In prison, relationships and intimacy are important. Sometimes relationships are formed even in prison because it’s complicated to maintain one with someone outside. Only visits give prisoners the opportunity to keep in touch. Can a couple survive the prison system?
There are so-called “unsupervised visits ” so that loved ones have the opportunity to have a moment of privacy without the supervision of guards. To access this type of visit, the person must be the legal partner or be able to prove the existence of the relationship. These visits are organized in a studio set up within the prison walls and are longer than traditional visits. In addition to unsupervised visits, there is also the one where people are separated by a wall and the table visit where physical contact is possible but restricted.
Brighton*, who has been in Mons prison for several years, then Brandy, and her boyfriend, Sean*, fight for their relationship to survive despite the bars that separate them, and for this they especially use unsupervised visits. But inevitably, the constraints of the prison system prevent them from fully living their love. However, according to the Law of Principles, also called the Dupont Law, in force in Belgium since 2005, incarcerated persons should only be deprived of free movement in society. Their emotional lives shouldn’t be affected by incarceration, but reality trumps theory. And this is especially because of overcrowding in prisons which leads to a deterioration of detention conditions. However, since 1975, sexual well-being has been recognized as a health factor by the World Health Organization.
Florence, from his cell, and Daniel, from the living room, talk about their relationship. Even after many years, the two remember in detail their first unsupervised visit.
Florence: While I was waiting for the hour to come, I did a little make-up and hair. I wait with anticipation that grows against the passing seconds. The doors to my cell open and I am asked if I am ready. I answer yes, but I’m not. The guard accompanies me through the unknown corridors. Every person we pass looks at me with a devouring look and screams Do you want to fuck? I also get nasty and unwanted remarks from the guards. As I pass through the halls I think of the man for whom my heart and body beat. I miss that particular tenderness that the carnal act brings. I’m almost there, but I don’t know yet. They throw me sheets and a big towel.
I enter a new wing, a long corridor with doors. The abject comments come in droves: Sugi, you’re going to fuck yourself, you’re a whore. What are you doing, you want a big cock? They scream and don’t stop. I want to run, to escape. My cell instantly became a shelter. I am afraid and my discomfort makes the guard laugh. He opens a door for me and I enter. He tells me that my boyfriend is coming and goes to get him. The floor is wet, there is a sofa bed that is completely rotted and not unfolded. There is also a chemical toilet and shower that doesn’t work, the girls warned me. It smells like a combination of something sour and … article