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A judge's decision to uphold a law banning private visits between federal inmates has upset prisoners-rights groups who say such meetings are crucial.

"Let's focus on the positive -- working on a relationship is a healthy thing," convicted murderer Roy Glaremin said in an interview from Kingston, Ont.

"It's a good thing for people to have that kind of stability -- and the whole idea is to make people better than they were."

Mr. Glaremin is currently on day parole from the Collins Bay penitentiary in Kingston. He shot a Calgary police officer in the back of the head in 1977.

The issue of visits resurfaced earlier this year, when inmate Gilles Laliberte, who is serving a life sentence for murder, appealed a Federal Court decision this past April denying him a private stay with a cellmate at Quebec's Drummond penitentiary.

Justice François Lemieux ruled the couple couldn't be granted the privilege -- not because of their homosexual relationship, but because current legislation says two inmates cannot share a conjugal visit.

Such visits between inmates and non-inmates are allowed.

Correctional Service of Canada spokesman Pierre Florea said the ban is under review. Mr. Florea said the agency has no record of how many inmates' visits were suspended as a result of the ruling.

However, Kim Page, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society prisoners-rights group for women, said she knows of seven female inmates who have filed grievances to protest against the refusal of visiting privileges.

Mr. Glaremin said he was initially told after the Laliberte ruling that he would lose visits with his wife, Therasa, also a convicted killer. The two met 12 years ago in a co-ed Queen's University class at Collins Bay penitentiary.

However, the couple's visits have been allowed to continue, as Roy Glaremin is on day parole and is no longer considered an inmate.

Janet Shelever said she finds no solace in Mr. Glaremin's happiness. The man he killed was her husband.

Constable William Shelever was a Calgary police officer investigating a robbery in 1977, when he stopped Mr. Glaremin for questioning.

Mr. Glaremin killed him and fired several shots at his partner, who survived the attack.

Constable Shelever, 31, had learned just hours earlier that his wife was pregnant with a daughter he would never meet.

"I find the whole thing disgusting," Ms. Shelever said in an interview from Calgary. "I can't have conjugal visits; Roy Glaremin took that away from me on May 26, 1977. These people can commit the crimes they commit and they're treated better than we are."

Art Hanger, a Canadian Alliance MP, worked on the Calgary police force with Constable Shelever.

"Family visits have their place, but when it comes to violent criminals, there has to be a substantial restriction," said Mr. Hanger, MP for Calgary Northeast.