Shields v. Foston (E.D. Cal. 2013): Conjugal Visits for Prisoners

The plaintiff, Remon Shields, a prisoner serving a life sentence without parole, brought this action against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, alleging that his religion requires those who want to marry to get married and consummate their relationship, but his request for non-overnight "family visiting" with his wife were denied. The prison contended that there is a policy stating that those who are serving a life without parole sentence are ineligible for the family visiting program. The respondent filed a motion to dismiss. The District Court granted the respondent's motion to dismiss, determining that there was no fundamental right to conjugal visits, and that the plaintiff had not demonstrated that the prison regulation prohibiting conjugal visits for life-without-parole prisoners was not rationally related to a valid penological interest.

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