Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TDCJ plans to let inmate marriages resume

Once new rules are in place, Texas inmates will again be allowed to marry while they're incarcerated, but this time they'll do so in person, not via proxy as in the past. The report from AP (Nov. 18) on the topic began:
Texas plans to allow marriage ceremonies inside prisons between an inmate and an intended spouse who isn't incarcerated, officials disclosed Tuesday.

Inmates in Texas historically have been allowed to marry by proxy, meaning someone stood in for the prisoner at a ceremony held somewhere other than the penitentiary. But a state law that took effect a year ago and requires both parties be present for a marriage ceremony has had the unintended consequence of halting proxy marriages in Texas prisons. At the same time, U.S. Supreme Court rulings have upheld prisoners' right to marry.

State prison officials said they're framing the new rules now.

"Given the restrictions and understanding offenders have a legal right to marry, the agency is drafting a policy that allows an inmate to marry a non-incarcerated person within our facilities," agency spokesman Jason Clark said.
The story included a few details about how the new system would work:
According to the plans, the marriages would have to comply with prison visitation rules, be consistent with the prisoner's visitation status and require no special amenities.

For example, a death row inmate is not allowed any outside contact. While the inmate could get married under the new policy, the prisoner still would be separated by glass and be allowed no contact with a spouse.

Rules already on the books don't allow conjugal visits.

The spouse would have to obtain the marriage license, make arrangements for someone to conduct the nuptials and be responsible for any payment to that person. Prison chaplains would not be involved, Clark said. Attendance would be limited to the offender, the spouse and the person conducting the ceremony.

"Some of the other details are still being worked out at this point," he said.
RELATED: See this interesting, related story from The New Statesman.

56 comments:

Lee said...

For what reason do prisoners need to get married?

Soronel Haetir said...

Matters of right require no need.

sunray's wench said...

Lee - because their fiances and fiancees have a right to.

I'm curious as to how TDCJ will work it though. If they say the marriage has to take place within the normal visitation routine, that's going to mean adding the officiant to the inmate's visitor list at least.

Anonymous said...

I do believe they shouldn't have took even the proxy away I do believe that the inmates have the right to marry just because there behind walls there doing there time don't have to take all there rights away

Ruth Perry said...

Lee, respectfully, your comment is flawed due to some assumptions that:

a) All prisoners are guilty (which recent media reports have shown not to be true, as juries have been known to wrongly convict and innocent man, and unethical cops have been known to put away innocent people, merely to tie up a case.

And b) that because you've committed a crime, you're somehow less of a person and do not deserve rights.. Which sadly, the Supreme Court of the US doesn't agree with you.Turner v. Safley
Furthermore, if all you're concerned about is yourself and not the concerns of others, then this might interest you. Increased family support actually reduces recidivism rates. That simply means, when they have good relationships with family (and their wives) the rate of them committing crimes again when they're out lowers. Therefore keeping you safer. And since Texas is one of the few states that doesn't allow contact visits unless you're a blood relation or a spouse, then yes, allowing inmates to marry people who will support them, encourage their good behaviour, and thus in the long run keep your family safe, the fact that they should be allowed to marry should matter to you.

Corey Smooh said...

When?

Sherri Willis said...

Does anyone know when that this will happen?

Anonymous said...

None whatsoever....other than the fact that its their God-Given right as a human being and citizen of America, just like the right to bear arms and freedom of speech. But other than that, none whatsoever

Anonymous said...

Hopefully they will allow a witness or family member to attend as well. I'm curious if these ceremonies will be conducted only on the weekends during regular visitation or will they designate a certain day in the month to try and do them all.

The Clergy person who conducts the ceremony should not have to be on the visitation list as they all have access to the inmates by virtue of their ordination credentials without being on their individual visitation lists. And hopefully the local clergy won't see this turn of events as a way to stack their "building funds" by charging expensive fees to conduct the ceremony since facility chaplains won't be able to do them.

Honestly, considering TDCJ stated very emphatically that they were not changing their policy when the TX ban on proxy marriage came down, I don’t think this new policy change will happen any time soon.

Corey Smooh said...

After a phone call to tdcj, I was told mid February to march is the time frame they are looking at.

MrsWilliams said...

I hope they allow this sooner than later! I can't even get contact visits with my "common law" husband because tdcj says they "NO LONGER" accept that paper work. I hate seeing him through the glass, and think the marriage by proxy should have never been taken away in the first place....I feel like they do not treat them as human beings. Yes, they made a mistake, and they are serving their time, but that does not mean that while they are in there they should be forgotten about! Does anyone else know about when this will take place?

Anonymous said...

As the person who initiated this change in Marriage by Proxy and after speaking with numerous County Clerk's who have had inmates complain that they didn't know they were married or want to be married by proxy, it was time for a change in the law. Fraud was rampant with Proxy marriages. I'm sure TDCJ will find the solution as California has. This change was to protect elderly, their estates and fraudulent claims against SSA and VA (you know taxpayer money). And if you have been divorced or if you are single before 1/1/2013, you might want to check and make sure someone didn't marry you so they can file claim to your estate. You'd be surprised at how often this fraud was committed.

Anonymous said...

Regardless if you are incarcerated or not, you still have legal rights. Many people had plans to get married before going to prison so I don't see a reason why their plans to be married couldn't continue. Just because you commit a crime doesn't mean that you are different or should be treated any different from anyone else. There are many reasons why a prisoner as you call them would have to get married. One reason would be the same reason that you would want to be married. We are all humans and mistakes doesn't make us any different. When you love someone, it doesn't matter where they are or their current situation. Love is love and nothing or no one can change how you feel about a person. We as a society need to stop passing judgment on others decisions. Nobody is perfect and we live in world of cruelty and unjust. So, if they wanna get married while incarcerated, that's their business. It doesn't hurt you or cost you a single penny so why should you care. Only God can judge us and if you are not God, why waste your time passing judgement qhwn you yourself have no room to judge anyone. We all can be in the same situation. You never know what can happen to cause you to end up in prison then your outlook on things will be totally different. You may be one of the ones that break the law all the time but just haven't got caught yet. So, let these individuals have their say in what they choose to do without everybody else being in their business.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I got married while she is incarcerated. There are ways around it. I got the papers notarized for proxy marriage and went to Colorado. I had to make a few calls to Huntsville because the Unit was trying to stop it, but Huntsville backed me up. If anyone's has any questions, I will help you if I can.

mercury davis davis said...

Thats right , and some people are given harsh sentences for pety crime , and if that person above ends up in prison people would say the same about them , , thanks for the speech

mercury davis davis said...

I called they said they no longer do that , if they do whats the steps

monicasegovia36 said...

Please let me know if this is try...I have been wanting to marry my fiancee for quite some time NOW. Does n e one know if u can marry someone in the Formby Unit......please let me know if this is allowed. Thank you

Robert Vega said...

I would also like info... where can I get the application for marriage? Please anyone help

nicole garrity said...

I believe you have to talk to the county clerk in the county they are located

Jo Anne Hall said...

Inmate marriages in Texas are back, not by proxy but an actual ceremony performed during the week in the visitation area. Only the intended and the officiant will enter the unit at a predesignated date and time.

Let me know if you have any questions or if I can be of service to you or your loved one.


http://www.chron.com/life/weddings-and-celebrations/article/Humble-woman-officiates-prison-weddings-6145626.php#photo-7681092

Chloe Govea said...

Yes I'm very interested in this if you could email me more info on how to do this me and my fiancé would appreciate it so much. My email is clo.govea@gmail.com thank you so much

Chloe Govea said...

Yes if very interested in this if you could email more info on how to do this me and my fiancé would really appreciate it. Thank you so much my email is clo.govea@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I do think its a good idea to allow the inmates to get married cuz then the mind will be focused on their family and getting out instead of getting into the nonsense fights they do have. It will put their heads in different form. Another thing is alot of guys are serving alot of time and dont care if they have more charges added onto their sentence but if they had that security knowing they have a wife to go home to that could change how they feel about getting into trouble. I SAY MARRIAGE IS A POSITIVE OUTLOOK FOR THE INMATES

Anonymous said...

The inmate has to go through their unit to request an application for permission. The law library reviews it, verifies that the named officiant has been approved by TDCJ. THEN it goes to inmate records at the unit to be researched and verify that the inmate has never claimed to be married,common law included. If they have, proof of divorce has to be provided. After inmate records clears it, the request for permission goes to the warden for signature. The next step is the chaplain at the unit to schedule.
On the outside, the fiance has to get marriage license, etc and pay all costs.
My wedding is to take place at the Alfred Hughes unit July 8th!!!
TDCJ website has the info as well.

Memorable Moment said...

Congrats, Anonymous, on your upcoming nuptials at the Hughes Unit!

You forgot to mention the first step, which is to request a copy of the Inmate ID and notary for the Absent Applicant Affidavit. The intended will need this before the inmate submits an I60 for the marriage process.

Your process is well on it's way but if anyone else has any questions, you can message me here or email me at MomorableMoment@outlook.com.

Let me know if I make your moment memorable for you and your loved one.

TDCJ Marriages
by Memorable Moment

Anonymous said...

Actually, I did not need a copy of his offender ID because I already had gotten his birth certificate from the State of Tennessee. That is one of the accepted documents as proof of his age for the Absentee Marriage License in Travis county. That I did send to him to be signed and notarized at the unit. But, that it's part of getting the marriage license. I got it three weeks ago. The process, including finding an officiant, her sending her application to Huntsville for approval, all took place in three weeks. Then the scheduling, based on the two days (2nd and 4th Wednesday) of each month designated by the unit. And each unit makes that determination.
This will be only the second one to be held at this unit, and the first there for an Ad Seg inmate. Thanks for your well wishes!

Anonymous said...

The officiant, that Huntsville quickly approved, can be reached at armypatti@gmail.com. At this time, Huntsville, nor the unit will provide anyone with names of approved officiants so it's up to us, family and friends, to share the information. I did learn that the reason for most denials is because the inmate has previously listed themselves as married, naming another person as their spouse, on a prior visitation list, etc. Then the current significant other is not aware until this process, and the demand for divorce documentation. Just a heads up, y'all...

txbombshell said...

Friends: There is no need to pay anyone to "advise" you on the process. Your County Clerk's office can answer your questions on getting the marriage license. The rest, as far as TDCJ processes, can be found on TDCJ Administrative Directive AD0342-2. The Warden's office will be able to answer the questions that are left to the warden's discretion, like days that are designated for weddings, pictures, etc. Just be patient with the unit staff! This is new to them also!

txbombshell said...

Friends- No need to pay anyone to help you with the process (other than to PERFORM the CEREMONY!) !!! TDCJ.Administrative Directive AD0342-2 on their website gives the policies. Your County Clerk's office can provide information on getting the marriage license, provide the Absentee Application etc. The warden's office can answer questions that are left up to the unit and the warden. Such as what days they can be held, if they will take pictures, etc. Please be patient with the staff! This is all new to them as well.

Jo Anne Hall said...

You're correct, txbombshell, but the officiant fee and expenses are all you pay for. Some officiants go above and beyond to make calls to the units and county clerks to help make sure everything runs smoothly, as a courtesy, including adding the Twogether PreMarital Course that saves you $60 on your marriage license.

Each unit is different, Anonymous, and I'm happy that yours went smoothly. I've had one take 10 days while another took 6 weeks. Because a copy of ID is a part of TDCs process, some units will not start without it. Both Ellis and McConnell held up marriages waiting on the ID copy even tho the licenses were already purchased and they knew it.

If the outside party doesn't have their part done first, the process can be delayed and or have to start over because it goes pretty fast once it gets started on the inside.

If anyone has any questions, you can message me here or email me at MomorableMoment@outlook.com. Let me know if I make your moment memorable for you and your loved one.

TDCJ Marriages by Memorable Moment

Jo Anne Hall said...

Also, Anonymous, you mentioned "The officiant, that Huntsville quickly approved, can be reached at armypatti@gmail.com." She may be your officiant but she is not THE officiant.

There are several from various areas of Texas. Our group consist of Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Snyder. Some only go to local units while others, like myself, are available for all units.

Let us know if we make your moment memorable for you and your loved one.

TDCJ Marriages by Memorable Moment

txbombshell said...

Pffft lighten up Jo Ann. Don't put so much emphasis into my use of the word "the".Good grief. You and your gaggle will still be able to make money. Just NOT by charging people to do what they can do themselves. Especially as your first comment to me about the offender ID copy BEFORE an inmate submits the I60 for the internal Request for Permission Form is not accurate.
DO NOT PAY FOR "HELP" WITH THE PAPERWORK!!!
Save your money to pay for phone calls, put gas in the car to go visit. THE officiant that I am using is doing the ceremony for WAY less than $100. Way less!
Funny that you didn't respond to my personal email, but that wouldn't have gotten your commercial plug out, huh?
Call your county clerk's office, call the unit, and be patient with the staff. You only need to contact THE officiant of your choice for scheduling, and the inmate will need THE officiant's name to complete the Request for Permission to Marry.
The TDCJ Administrative Directive AD0342-2 tells you what I basically summed up in "real talk" in earlier posts.
Good luck to all that are pursuing this and don't be afraid to ask questions.
One bummer note...there is no ring exchange allowed. Unless someone at unit level misses that and allows it. If they do, opens the door for grievances, and other negative things :(

txbombshell said...

Did you misspell your OWN email address? "MOMO" rable moments? Hmmm.. I would expect better attention to details if I'm entrusting someone with involvement in my life altering event!
Hughes did NOT require anything about offender ID. We could have made it work out even more quickly, possibly, if he was in Pop, but in Ad Seg, no phone calls to discuss it, had to rely on mail, jpay, and weekly visits.
People should not be afraid to contact THE warden's office, so many are, empower yourself in this process and enjoy that pride in accomplishment!
It's your link to the newspaper article, on YOURSELF, isn't it? Nice photo. Did you contact the newspaper to selfpromote, as well?

Ilove texas said...

I`m having a hard time finding someone to marry me and my soon to be hubby they charge 2 arms and 2 legs its crazy does anyone know someone i will be a at the Boyd unit Teague TX

love texas said...

At the boyd unit i need his copy of his id to take to court house

Jo Anne Hall said...

Thank you for the correction, txbombshell, responding via cell phone isn't always easy.

Jo Anne Hall said...

Email correction:

MemorableMoment@outlook.com

Thanks, txbombshell.

txbombshell said...

To I love Texas, the county clerk requiring you to have a copy of his ID before they issue the marriage license is seeming to vary by county. Travis county accepted his birth certificate, no photo ID required. Having said that,o FIGURED these "momorable" haha moments crew were really trying to make some big money. Here's how I got the officiant for mine. I searched online for marriage officiants in the area of Hughes...Killeen, Temple, THEN I emailed a couple of them, asked if they would be willing to do it. The application that they must submit to TDCJ is also available on TDCJ website. Look at the attachment link to the administrative directive AD0342-2. There is no charge for them to submit. It can be sent to TDCJ by mail or email. Took THREE days for MY officiant to get approved. TDCJ does NOT notify them when they ARE approved, so call them. The phone number and address are with or on the officiant application. You can contact me at txbombshell@gmail.com if you want more details, but please look at the AD0342-2 and the attachments first. It is FREE for the officiant to apply!! Mine is well less than $100 for the 30 minutes of the ceremony, plus it's about a 40 minute drive for her.

txbombshell said...

I love Texas hi! I just talked to my officiant Patti and she said you've been in touch! Congrats! So glad this will work out for you and at a reasonable price!!! Don't get gouged, friends! Good luck in your future!

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone. I am trying to get married at Coffield Unit, please let me know if anyone knows how I am able to locate a officiante? We have tried just about everything to get this done and I don't want our license to expire. Any information would be helpful. Thank you

txbombshell said...

Contact Patti Riley at armypatti@gmail.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Patti Riley Wedding officiant. You'll find that she is waaay more reasonable about cost than ANY of the others!
Congratulations & good luck!
Frances Vaughn-Guffey

hg said...

So your only allowed contact visits if your already married or family right

Unknown said...

I'm in the middle of marrying my inmate as we speak.. I couldn't be happier, some people are just so damn negative, I'm sure if it was some of you, you would think and feel orherwise..

txbombshell said...

Why are you upset? The ONLY one that said anything negative about inmate marriages was that very first comment. Everyone else was telling him off, scolding him for his foolishness and narrow mindedness. Maybe you should read them again for a better understanding. Lee probably has never driven home after a BBQ, a Tailgate Party, a happy hour, New Year's Eve party - after having had a few drinks. Because if Lee had (as MOST of us have, at least once! ) EVER gotten behind the wheel after drinking, Lee might realize that truly, there but for the grace of God go I.
All it takes is that one time, to cause the injury or death of someone, and Lee would be an inmate, too.
But. I guess Lee has never, ever driven after consuming alcohol.

Christina said...

Congratulations "unknown" I did the common law marriage but now we want make official well tdcj said we have to get divorce and then remarry which is outrageous.. I want my marriage I want my marriage license.. Tdcj is making it more complicated for us

txbombshell said...

Christina I can probably help you. I've helped others. You can contact me at txbombshell@gmail.com
Let me know what unit he is located. TDCJ also recognizes (because they have to!!) same sex marriage laws. For anyone reading that may be interested.

txbombshell said...

Christina I can probably help you. I've helped others. You can contact me at txbombshell@gmail.com
Let me know what unit he is located. TDCJ also recognizes (because they have to!!) same sex marriage laws. For anyone reading that may be interested.

Memorable Moment said...

Congratulations, Unknown!

Christina, tell him to start the process again. They will now allow you to marry as long as you are CL to each other and not someone else. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi i was just wondering does any one know how it works to get married at stringfellow unit in rosharon but i m in killen

Mammas said...

Hi,
Can someone help me I am wanting to get married, I found a pastor nd he's willing to go with me to the jail, but I am not understanding the paperwork I need to file!
He's in Lindsey unit!!

Mammas said...

Hi, I am needed help as well he's in Lindsey unit, nd I got a pastor willing to go but I can't figure out the paper work process they're talking about you need a form called affidavit performing the ceremony, which I have called Huntsville Gatesville my County Clerk Abilene Dallas and nobody has heard of that paper so if anybody could let me know email me at gentellove0401@gmail.com.
Thank you so much

Unknown said...

Ruth, all prisoners are not #Guilty. Some were falsely accused.... Case in point... Charles Brandley spent 20yrs of his life behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. The only way that it was ever found out that he didn't commit said crime was that the person that did it was on his death bed when he confessed. DNA swabs were collected and Mr.Brandley was paid 2.5million dollars from the TX Department of Justice. This isn't the only case but #Only God knows who did what. You are to judge according to righteousness and not according to how u feel about the subject. Please, study up on correct information if u are going to give it. There are many men/women behind bars paying the penalty for someone else's crime.

txbombshell said...

@Unknown, First, your reading comprehension skills SUCK. Ruth was making the EXACT same point that all incarcerated may not be guilty of their charge. AND her comment was written over a year ago! Lol Pffft
No wonder you are "Unknown "

Dixie Simmons said...

Please email me, my common law husband was just locked up and we were supposed to get married this summer... Can you please help me figure this whole thing out? Please email me dixie143@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

@txbombshell
You need to get a life and quit being so rude to everyone. Didn't your parents ever teach you 'If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all'.

txbombshell said...

@Anonymous 09/04/2016 Hi Jo Ann. Guess you could follow your own advice, and that your parents left a lot out of your home training, huh? Only took 7 months since I posted that to come up with a reply. Wow. Just, WOW.