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Oklahoma General Prison Talk, News, Introductions & Chit Chat Topics & Discussions relating to Prison & the Criminal Justice System in Oklahoma that do not fit into any other Oklahoma sub-forum category. Please feel free to also introduce yourself to other members in the state and talk about whatever topics come to mind that may not have anything to do with prison.

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  #26  
Old 05-23-2005, 07:18 PM
samsfi samsfi is offline
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I couldnt seem to pull the article- but it sounds like they're insane!!! Yeah this is soooo much fun! LOL!!!! Not only are we not in 'control' but heck half the time we don't know where they are!!!!
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  #27  
Old 05-23-2005, 08:36 PM
wannamae wannamae is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samsfi
I couldnt seem to pull the article- but it sounds like they're insane!!! Yeah this is soooo much fun! LOL!!!! Not only are we not in 'control' but heck half the time we don't know where they are!!!!
Some marriages made in prison

By Carrie Coppernoll
The Oklahoman

LEXINGTON — To Joani Reeves,the man she married Thursday is everything -- a caring friend, a kind companion, a loving stepfather to her two sons.
To a jury, he's a killer.

Eddie Berry was convicted of beating to death his 7-month-old daughter, Charlie Elaine, when he was 18 years old. He's serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Reeves and Berry, both 35, are among a handful of Oklahoma couples to wed while one is behind bars. Though not everyone agrees with the idea, prisoners are finding love on the outside.

Lonely companions
Reeves said she planned to visit her new husband today, as she does almost every Sunday. They eat lunch, play cards, talk and hold hands during their six-hour visits. Reeves said she tries not to think about her husband never coming home.

"I love him and I support him," she said. "I guess I'll be doing life right along with him."

The couple dated when they were 13 years old but lost touch after Berry's family moved away. Reeves later ran into Berry's sister, and learned that her former boyfriend was in prison. That's when she started making her Sunday drives from her home in Moore to Berry's home Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington.

"This is the happiest I've been in a long time," Reeves said.

Their wedding included all the basics a Bible-carrying reverend in cowboy boots, a kiss, a first dance, a cake and reception.

A stereo played love songs from the 1980s as about 10 guests gathered to watch the ceremony in the prison visiting room. A handful of inmates scheduled to be released that day had to be shushed as they waited restlessly in the back of the room.

The bride wore a flowered dress and heels with pink straps. Her groom wore a gray prison uniform with "INMATE" printed on the back. A photographer and videographer, also wearing prison uniforms, quietly moved around the room documenting each memorable moment.

There was no honeymoon.

For couples like the Berrys, loneliness is the biggest challenge, said Michael B. Jackson, author of "How to Love and Inspire Your Man After Prison." Many women will shoulder that burden secretly.

"She usually cannot talk to anyone about it," Jackson said. "Many women will not tell her man of the stress she is experiencing and the problems she is having because she doesn't want to burden him."

Men and women in these types of relationships marry for different reasons, Jackson said. Many prisoners are looking for a connection to the outside world who can give them money, visits, companionship and post-release help.

"While she daydreams of the day they will be together, he is more concerned about the here and now, specifically, making his stay in prison as comfortable as possible," Jackson said.

But a husband who's never home is the ideal situation for some women, Jackson said.

"They know where he is all the time," the author said. "She feels safe and in control. She gets put on a pedestal and romanced fairy-tale fashion, via love letters and sexy telephone calls, all without having him around all the time."

Learning about each other
Telena Troutman would rather have her man around all the time. She's engaged to Henry West, another inmate at Joseph Harp, and the couple will wed this fall. West is serving life in prison for several charges, including shooting with intent to kill, but will be eligible for parole in 2009.

For Troutman, starting a relationship with someone in prison has meant getting to know her partner as a person.

"It's never about sex," the Oklahoma City woman said. "It really can't be. ... I feel very strongly that this is the first relationship I've ever been in when you actually totally learn about the person from the inside out."

Like the Berrys and other couples who marry in prison, Troutman and West took a required counseling class. Like all couples, Troutman and West have disagreements and fights.

"We've had our little tiffs," she said, laughing. "That's when the phone calls get expensive."

Ron Grant, chaplain at Joseph Harp, gives counseling to inmates and their partners, but he doesn't perform weddings any more. Although he said he doesn't doubt the couples love, he said marriage is stressful enough without the added burden of prison time. He encourages couples to wait.

"Is that the healthiest relationship?" he said. "I just can't in good conscience think that most of the time this is a good plan."

Remembering victims
Not everyone celebrates inmate wedding days.

Prisoners seeking marriage can have ulterior motives, said Michael Paranzino, president of Throw Away The Key, a victim advocacy group.

In other states, prisoners who are married can sometimes garner privileges, such as relocation to a lockup closer to their spouses, Paranzino said.

In Oklahoma, married inmates aren't given any special privileges, said Jerry Massie, state Corrections Department spokesman.

But the intangible rewards are what some inmates seek, Paranzino said.

"The spouse on the outside becomes the leading advocate for the criminal's release," he said.

A requirement for parole in many states is having a stable home, and Paranzino said husbands and wives on the outside can be a means to an end for some prisoners.

Husbands and wives on the outside who can promise parole boards a good home for their spouses can sometimes mean early release, Paranzino said.

Paranzino said he hopes victims aren't forgotten. For some victims, news of their perpetrators' weddings can be frustrating and saddening, he said.

"It adds insult to injury to see the violent criminals that harm them carousing and celebrating," he said.

Locked in love
Lynn Woodward has been married to her husband, Dave, for more than three years. She drives to Joseph Harp from Noble every weekend to visit him. The two play Scrabble on a makeshift board with letters written on nickels.

Lynn Woodward met her future husband when she was working as a prison volunteer. When the two realized they wanted more than friendship, Lynn resigned and had to wait six months before she could talk to her boyfriend on the phone and more than a year before she could visit him in person.

As she became a regular visitor, Lynn Woodward said she and her husband developed a type of community bond with other inmates and their visitors. Other married couples are almost like neighbors, she said.

And the women whose husbands are behind bars form a special friendship, Lynn Woodward said. The wives call each other, eat dinner together and attend events, she said. She recently went to see a friend's daughter show a sheep at a livestock show.

Like Berry, Dave Woodward is a convicted murderer serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. His wife has faced the fact he probably will never come home but is disappointed, she said, that he won't at least have the chance.

"Either there's forgiveness and redemption or there's not," she said. "Either we are new creations in Christ or we're not."

Reporter---->
Carrie Coppernoll
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  #28  
Old 05-24-2005, 12:09 AM
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Well that was a disgusting read. I'm glad someone has finally told me how empowering it is to only have to see my husband 1 day a week. And who knew the amazing freedom one gets from trying to pay the bills and repair the car and work on the house with only 1 income. And it truly is a blessing to not have to worry about faking a headache just to get some sleep...lol. Yep, life is perfect. Now if only I could get a break from standing on this pedestal all day long :shake:
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  #29  
Old 05-24-2005, 02:25 PM
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The only thing that keeps me from slapping stupid people like that is...they have NO IDEA what their talking about... So really all that news article did was show a whole lot of people just how stupid they really are.
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  #30  
Old 05-24-2005, 04:52 PM
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Thanks for posting the article-- I had no idea how much I'm being taken advantage of and what character flaws I have because I need to know where my man is!! Please- it's like a couple of weeks ago they did a natl news story where they went off that prisons offered better educational opportunities than public schools-- oh please- maybe they found one model prison but we know better- it's not the norm in any sense of the word! All the while society falls for what they've been 'spoon fed' -- and then they vote to take what little away there is! Do they not get that the majority of these people will be coming home and living next door to them? Personally I would be supporting their family contact and appreciate them being given some education so they would have a fighting chance -- Oh and for the record I've seen some prison weddings- I wouldnt exactly call it 'carousing' was it??!!! Yeah real fun a few minutes in a room full of people- please!! Ok I'll stop now or I could go on forever!!
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:15 PM
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Did you guys know that this author they speak of...this Michael B. Jackson was once incarcerated, in and out of prison before he turned his life around and now he is a motivational speaker who does transitional workshops for newly released inmates and their families?
I don't think with the way he thinks I want him anywhere near Billy or I when Billy is released.
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  #32  
Old 05-24-2005, 11:21 PM
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i couldn't find the article went to the main page and never saw it help!!!
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  #33  
Old 05-25-2005, 12:04 AM
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Look up to post #9 by Wannamae. She posted it here instead of the link

And I don't want Mr. Jackson helping me or JJ either with that attitude. Heck, I'm having too great a time being married to an inmate to even *think* about the amazing help he could give me /snark off
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  #34  
Old 05-25-2005, 07:06 PM
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Did this Jackson guy do time here- or what because I mean he - well from my perspective he comes off kind of like he at least 'thinks' he's some authority and seems sort of REALLY off base!! I mean maybe we should all compile a book so someone will listen to what we go through-- ( anyone can write a book- it does not really an authority make )he may have been a man on the inside-- but he has never been 'the woman' on the outside (well at least I dont think-- I won't go there! ) I don't see where he gets off speaking for us-- I feel like he's just perpetuating the stigma we fight every freakin day-- and coming from someone I would expect to be a little more insightful (you think his woman dumped him when he was in-- he sounds sort of bitter! lol) I just know how much I stuggle and how much more so many of you do than I-- I hate it when someone groups us together as some group of character-flawed idiots that must be so lacking in self-worth or have some hidden agenda!!-- But you all know me- It doesnt take that much to piss me off! Plain and simple I love my man and for whatever reason I see something worth trying to save--and it seems since no one else wanted to the world might cut me some slack! I suspect although I'm usually a little off base- some of you feel close to the same.-- Ok I'll shut up now! Love you all!
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Old 05-25-2005, 07:19 PM
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You know I'm happy about the blood test thing- I was diagnosed with HepC and yes Sam was there he knows-- but I was afraid they would make an issue about it when we applied for a license. Silly I know - and I understand if I didnt know and had not told him he would have the right to know...-- it's just that after I present the 'set' of divorce papers - it would just be one more thing to make me feel like the idiot I WAS!!! (ok and some may still think I am! )
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Old 05-27-2005, 06:10 PM
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As of 5/12/05 DOC has new OP's on Inmate Marriages. OP-090128 some of it is below otherwise follow this link.
http://www.doc.state.ok.us/Offtech/op090128.htm

Inmate Marriages

I. Policy

Although the agency does not encourage marriage while incarcerated, reasonable accommodations will be made to assist inmates who are legally competent to become married in accordance with Oklahoma law.

II. Procedures for the Initiation of Inmate Marriages

A. All inmates may request to marry while incarcerated. Formerly married inmates (common law or civil marriage) must submit a copy of a valid divorce decree with their request for marriage. Common Law marriage is defined as “a positive mutual agreement, permanent and exclusive of all others, to enter into a marriage relationship, cohabitation sufficient to warrant a fulfillment of necessary relationship of a husband and wife, and assumption of marital duties and obligations.”

A “Marriage Request Application” (Attachment A, attached) must be completed and submitted to the chaplain (case manager supervisor at community corrections centers) by the inmate, at least 90 days prior to the desired wedding date. Upon receiving the “Marriage Request Application”, the “Procedures for Inmate Marriages” (Attachment B, attached) will be sent to the inmate and fiancé(e).
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  #37  
Old 05-28-2005, 01:07 AM
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Thanks; I'll pass this marriage info onto my friend.
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  #38  
Old 06-09-2005, 06:14 AM
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Who would actually choose to have their man in prison so that they can know where he is all times of the day? So what if he is in a situation that can change for the worst daily and we have no way of protecting him from that. I am glad that I know my man has to be treated like he's not human, so that I can say at least I have a man. I sure was looking forward to raising my kids, keeping a home, and growing old with the comfort that he has 3 hots and a cot. That's a crock of dung! They have no idea the agony involved in making the decision to look beyond the comforts that so many take for granted to truly be with someone who is your soul mate.
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  #39  
Old 06-09-2005, 11:32 PM
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Here is an interview with that dumbass who is thinks that he knows more about being married to an inmate than we do.


Interview with Michael B. Jackson


Raised in a Newark, NJ housing project, Michael B. Jackson was introduced to a life of crime and heroin addiction at an early age. At 18, he made his first trip to prison, and for the next 10 years was in and out of prison for parole violations and new offenses. Like so many inmates, he became more comfortable behind bars than in the outside world.
One day Jackson finally “got it” and made a commitment to change his life for the better. Channeling his anger and resentment for positive purposes, he began to put back the pieces of his self-esteem and character.

In 1979, after spending several months in a halfway house, he was paroled and never again returned to prison. Within 10 months of his release, Jackson gained custody of his son who at eight years of age had become involved in petty crimes.

Today, Jackson is a successful entrepreneur, author, and publisher, and the founder of the very popular website www.jointfx.com. He has been employed with a state corrections parole authority for the past 15 years. Jackson conducts seminars and training sessions for youths and adults, and has been featured in numerous newspapers and appeared on national television shows.

You were in and out of prison for 10 years before you turned your life around. What finally clicked for you?

Mostly I just got tired of being pathetic and always under the control of some narcotic or the prison system. I wanted something better in my life, so I decided to take control and change my life.

You've made it a life mission to help other convicts and their loved ones-- you're a parole hearing officer, motivational speaker, author, and you run a website to help people find success after prison. Why?

I have been blessed with a good life. I am 52 years old and I have doubled the lifespan of most of my childhood friends who were doing the same things that I was doing back then. They just kept going until it killed them one way or the other. I believe that it is my calling to share my experiences with others. My goal in life is to motivate, inspire, and give hope to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people so that they, too, can change their lives and be successful after prison.

Why do you think the criminal recidivism rate is so high?

Negative laws, public policies, and opinions of formerly incarcerated people are all "barriers" that play a major role in the high failure rate for people after prison. Many laws are senseless and designed to make it impossible for someone to start a new life after serving time in prison. For example, in many states, a person convicted of a felony cannot get a barber's license or license to drive a truck. They cannot get student loans and grants to further their education. They cannot return and live with their families, if their families live in public housing.

There are also not enough programs, services, and resources, like job training or substance abuse counseling for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. Men are being released with physical and mental health issues that were not addressed in prison.

In general, most people released from prison are just not prepared to return to society. I believe that despite all those things, a man must find a way. There are some things he must do that will give him a better chance to succeed. That's what I talk about in my book, How to Do Good After Prison: A Handbook for the Committed Man.

Your second book is How to Love and Inspire Your Man After Prison. That's the one that really intrigued me, because of a comment you made-- that spouses and partners often inadvertently help their loved ones stay incarcerated. How?

I get more than 250 e-mails a week from women (wives, girlfriends, mothers) at my "Ask Shakir" advice column, www.jointfx.com. I believe that in her quest to comfort and support her man, many of them unwittingly become enablers who actually encourage his unproductive behaviors and attitudes.

It is good for a man to have a woman who tries to understand him, support him, encourage him, and love him, but he must be held responsible. Men, in general, are notorious whiners, quick to place the blame for our failures and shortcomings on forces outside of us. In reality, most men in prison are there due to the poorly thought-out bad decisions they have made in their lives. Until they begin to make better decisions and become willing to work hard for what they want, they will never achieve the success that they desire.

Why did you self-publish your books?

I sent out to a few publishers but all the responses were negative. I don't think they saw a financially viable market for my topic. However, after taking into consideration things like maintaining control, convenience, and higher profits, self-publishing seemed like the ideal choice for my books. The fact that I sell most of my books via direct sales at conferences, speaking events, etc. means I usually need many copies on hand. I like having them in my garage where I can get them. I can also make updates and edits anytime I want to.

You're open about your past and the fact that you're an ex-con. Do you feel that this has hurt you at all as an author and businessman? Do people treat you differently when they know you were in prison?

In terms of being an expert on my subject, my past has been a key factor in my success as an author, publisher, motivational speaker. I can speak of my topic because I lived it, am living it, and will live it for the rest of my life.

You've received some terrific radio and TV publicity. How have you approached the media, and has it affected your book sales?

My subject matter is always timely and of interest to people. I have always been lucky in attracting interest in my product. The publicity has helped book sales greatly. Mostly because it leads to personal speaking opportunities where I really sell most of my books. I feel that if I get to speak to a live audience, I will sell a book or two to at least 50% of the audience.

Where are your books available?

On my web site, www.jointfx.com, from www.amazon.com, from most bookstores and, wholesale orders from Baker & Taylor Books.

As a parole officer, are you ever worried for your safety?

I am not a "parole officer." I do not supervise parolees. I work as a "parole revocation hearing officer," which is different. My job is to conduct parole violations revocation hearings to determine the validity and seriousness of violations of parole charges brought by parole officers against parolees. Yes, I am worried about my safety all the time. Whenever I get in my car I am scared to death that one of those crazy drivers on the road is going to kill me

You're a confessed cynic when it comes to inmates and their stories. And you say you're amazed and concerned about women who form relationships with inmates. So how do you know the difference between a lifelong criminal and someone who has the potential to change? Do you feel it's a moral responsibility for wives to stand by their husbands through prison time?

I am not cynical about all the stories, but I am cynical about some of the stories I hear from women concerning their relationships with men in prison. Some of the women I hear from are just straight-up being lied to and played by men in prison.
Sometimes it's so obvious you know that the woman has to know she is being played. She starts feeling sorry for him and feeling she is his only lifeline to sanity in prison and they get involved, at great emotional and financial cost. The women make big wedding plans with men who they barely know and get their hopes up just to have their hearts broken in they end.

There is no magic formula to foresee who is truly sincere about changing his life, however there are some signs to look for that will tell you if someone is NOT ready to do the right things.

For instance, she may believe his stories about being an innocent victim of circumstance who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but, a man who always seems to be involved in some type of incident or situation in the prison, such as rules infractions, where he is put into segregation or gets his privileges taken away is probably involved in negative activities and doing things that place him in bad situations. A man who is breaking all the rules in prison is probably going to continue that behavior when he gets out, despite what he tells her.

Hold him responsible. Do not allow your man to justify his behavior by feeling sorry for himself.

All I can say about a wife's "moral obligation" is, if I were a woman and my man was in jail, I would measure the level of my moral obligation to stand by him through prison time by how he honored his obligations to stand by and support me (and my kids) when he was on the streets.

What's your best advice for those who are considering self-publishing?

Today, with print-on-demand publishing, it is so easy and inexpensive to get your book into print. There is almost nothing stopping anyone from being published, except their own desire and motivation. Just do it!

Anything else you'd like to add?

A lot of people told me that there was no market for my book and that I was wasting my time. I have sold more than 10,000 copies of "Do Good." If you have a topic that you feel deeply about and you believe is of interest and useful to others, self-publishing is the way to go.

Living well is the best revenge. Do good, with vengeance!

Visit Michael's website at www.Jointfx.com.
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Old 06-22-2005, 04:39 PM
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My daughter just married her man on June 14 (last week) in Holdenville. In spite of the fact that it was in prison, the ceremony was very special. The chaplin & his assistants went out of the way to make it that way. There was cake, punch, pictures & a video. And there were no guards in there to dappen the festive spirit. We had 30 minutes for the reception after the ceremony, but everyone left happy, especially the bride and groom. Their spirits are really much better since they've made the committment to each other. They feel alot more secure in their relationship, I think.
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Old 06-30-2005, 11:47 PM
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If you noticed he started out referring to a couple where the man wasnt going to get out. A big majority of women on PTO were married to their husbands before they were incarcerated and are standing by him because they would in any situation. You have to wonder why someone would marry a man in prison after he is already there with no getting out. What good purpose does it serve for the woman? She will never be able to hold him(other than a hug in front of other people), spend any real quality time with him, or do anything people in a normal relationship do. Im not knocking people who stand by their loved ones when they get in trouble, im just speaking of people that would start a relationship that has no real future. The only person that will gain anything is the Inmate as the man said in the article.

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Old 07-02-2005, 12:43 AM
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Well, I can't speak for anyone else but myself. But I feel I must say something here. My man WILL be coming home someday but I met my man after he was locked up. Despite the fact that we have never made love nor even kissed for that matter, he has taught me so much. He has taught me that it's friendship first that makes a relationship strong. He's taught me that you don't have to have physical contact to love or be loved. Like these women that married lifers, I have a friendship with my man, that is more rewarding than any relationship that I've had here on the streets. I'm not some ugly ducking that can't find a man and needs to find someone to love me and be my friend. I have many friends and have made even more since I've met him and aquired a loving new family to boot. My life feels complete now that I have my man and it never did before. The sound of his voice brightens my day. When I look into his eyes from across the room my whole body tingles, when I hear and see him say "I love you" I realize just how full my life is. I've had boyfriends and have even been married a time or two and none of them have ever made me feel the way that he does by just a look or the sound of his voice. He makes me feel wanted, desired, and needed and never asks for anything in return, except my friendship. He's my companion, my friend, and my lover. I love him heart, mind, body and soul with every fiber of my being. It been a long 2 years and we have 9 more to go, but he knows and I know that I will be waiting for him when he does come home.

I know that you were mostly talking about lifers but I bet these women feel pretty much the same way I do. When I met John, I had pretty much given up on men. I felt that they were all DOGS and needed to be put to sleep.. HAHA (Just kidding). He has renewed my faith in men, humankind and taught me how to love again unconditionally. I'm a better person for have meeting him. I've also learned patience, humility and tolerance. I met him at a time in my life when I had decided that after a third failed marriage to my child crush, I would rather grow old alone then to open myself and my family to the pain of a fly by night relationship. I thank GOD everyday that he showed me the way to where John was at.

Yes, we both get lonely sometimes and miss physical contact of the opposite sex. That is when I close my eyes and I can feel his arms around me and then I dont feel so lonely anymore. Or when he gets lonely he calls me. He calls me everyday. No I don't always accept the call but just hearing my voice and knowing that I'm there for him if he needs helps him not feel so lonely. I think with him being where he is at we make ourselves talk about things that bother us instead of fighting so therefore we are learning to talk. Which I know both of us had a problem with that in the past. So we have a better than normal relationship cause most of the couples I know don't talk until it's built up and they explode first and then talk. We talk first, we have too. I can't lie to him, he knows it when I've tried and same goes with him.

okay, I've said more than my two cents worth.. haha


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceow
If you noticed he started out referring to a couple where the man wasnt going to get out. A big majority of women on PTO were married to their husbands before they were incarcerated and are standing by him because they would in any situation. You have to wonder why someone would marry a man in prison after he is already there with no getting out. What good purpose does it serve for the woman? She will never be able to hold him(other than a hug in front of other people), spend any real quality time with him, or do anything people in a normal relationship do. Im not knocking people who stand by their loved ones when they get in trouble, im just speaking of people that would start a relationship that has no real future. The only person that will gain anything is the Inmate as the man said in the article.

jmho
Mike
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  #43  
Old 07-05-2005, 09:21 PM
Bradysgirl Bradysgirl is offline
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Amen to you! I know that my fiance and I would never have been this close if we hadn't had the last year and a half to talk through letters and visits. He has even said himself that we have developed a special bond that can never be broken because of the time we had apart. Personally I think all couples should have some time to spend apart. I have personally grown and gotten to know who I am and who he is as a person. I don't know if we would have ever opened up to each other like we have if it hadn't been for our letters.
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  #44  
Old 09-13-2005, 08:43 AM
RobinsRose RobinsRose is offline
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Lightbulb hummm

This article was very contradictory. It seems to me the article is about people making it, but then it contradicts or implys otherwise.
My former boss's dad was in prison. I think he was in prison in Texas. My boss talked alot about his mom going to see his dad on weekends.

From what this article states, I can not imagine what these statements did to these couples and what it made them feel like. To think someone you are going to for counseling and he already looks down on your relationship before you ever speak to the man.

My sister and her husband went for counseling several years ago and much healing came to their marriage. My sister told me that it made all the difference to her that their counselor believed in them and trust me they had done much damage to their relationship. They both should of been behind bars because of all the things they did to each other.

I just can not imagine what it would be like to have someone counsel my sister and her husband and then find out the counselor did not think they were best for each other at this time in their lives because of the circumstances they were in.

I wish all of you the very best. I will be praying for all of you.
Robin

Quote:
Originally Posted by wannamae
Some marriages made in prison

By Carrie Coppernoll
The Oklahoman

LEXINGTON — To Joani Reeves,the man she married Thursday is everything -- a caring friend, a kind companion, a loving stepfather to her two sons.
To a jury, he's a killer.

Eddie Berry was convicted of beating to death his 7-month-old daughter, Charlie Elaine, when he was 18 years old. He's serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Reeves and Berry, both 35, are among a handful of Oklahoma couples to wed while one is behind bars. Though not everyone agrees with the idea, prisoners are finding love on the outside.

Lonely companions
Reeves said she planned to visit her new husband today, as she does almost every Sunday. They eat lunch, play cards, talk and hold hands during their six-hour visits. Reeves said she tries not to think about her husband never coming home.

"I love him and I support him," she said. "I guess I'll be doing life right along with him."

The couple dated when they were 13 years old but lost touch after Berry's family moved away. Reeves later ran into Berry's sister, and learned that her former boyfriend was in prison. That's when she started making her Sunday drives from her home in Moore to Berry's home Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington.

"This is the happiest I've been in a long time," Reeves said.

Their wedding included all the basics a Bible-carrying reverend in cowboy boots, a kiss, a first dance, a cake and reception.

A stereo played love songs from the 1980s as about 10 guests gathered to watch the ceremony in the prison visiting room. A handful of inmates scheduled to be released that day had to be shushed as they waited restlessly in the back of the room.

The bride wore a flowered dress and heels with pink straps. Her groom wore a gray prison uniform with "INMATE" printed on the back. A photographer and videographer, also wearing prison uniforms, quietly moved around the room documenting each memorable moment.

There was no honeymoon.

For couples like the Berrys, loneliness is the biggest challenge, said Michael B. Jackson, author of "How to Love and Inspire Your Man After Prison." Many women will shoulder that burden secretly.

"She usually cannot talk to anyone about it," Jackson said. "Many women will not tell her man of the stress she is experiencing and the problems she is having because she doesn't want to burden him."

Men and women in these types of relationships marry for different reasons, Jackson said. Many prisoners are looking for a connection to the outside world who can give them money, visits, companionship and post-release help.

"While she daydreams of the day they will be together, he is more concerned about the here and now, specifically, making his stay in prison as comfortable as possible," Jackson said.

But a husband who's never home is the ideal situation for some women, Jackson said.

"They know where he is all the time," the author said. "She feels safe and in control. She gets put on a pedestal and romanced fairy-tale fashion, via love letters and sexy telephone calls, all without having him around all the time."

Learning about each other
Telena Troutman would rather have her man around all the time. She's engaged to Henry West, another inmate at Joseph Harp, and the couple will wed this fall. West is serving life in prison for several charges, including shooting with intent to kill, but will be eligible for parole in 2009.

For Troutman, starting a relationship with someone in prison has meant getting to know her partner as a person.

"It's never about sex," the Oklahoma City woman said. "It really can't be. ... I feel very strongly that this is the first relationship I've ever been in when you actually totally learn about the person from the inside out."

Like the Berrys and other couples who marry in prison, Troutman and West took a required counseling class. Like all couples, Troutman and West have disagreements and fights.

"We've had our little tiffs," she said, laughing. "That's when the phone calls get expensive."

Ron Grant, chaplain at Joseph Harp, gives counseling to inmates and their partners, but he doesn't perform weddings any more. Although he said he doesn't doubt the couples love, he said marriage is stressful enough without the added burden of prison time. He encourages couples to wait.

"Is that the healthiest relationship?" he said. "I just can't in good conscience think that most of the time this is a good plan."

Remembering victims
Not everyone celebrates inmate wedding days.

Prisoners seeking marriage can have ulterior motives, said Michael Paranzino, president of Throw Away The Key, a victim advocacy group.

In other states, prisoners who are married can sometimes garner privileges, such as relocation to a lockup closer to their spouses, Paranzino said.

In Oklahoma, married inmates aren't given any special privileges, said Jerry Massie, state Corrections Department spokesman.

But the intangible rewards are what some inmates seek, Paranzino said.

"The spouse on the outside becomes the leading advocate for the criminal's release," he said.

A requirement for parole in many states is having a stable home, and Paranzino said husbands and wives on the outside can be a means to an end for some prisoners.

Husbands and wives on the outside who can promise parole boards a good home for their spouses can sometimes mean early release, Paranzino said.

Paranzino said he hopes victims aren't forgotten. For some victims, news of their perpetrators' weddings can be frustrating and saddening, he said.

"It adds insult to injury to see the violent criminals that harm them carousing and celebrating," he said.

Locked in love
Lynn Woodward has been married to her husband, Dave, for more than three years. She drives to Joseph Harp from Noble every weekend to visit him. The two play Scrabble on a makeshift board with letters written on nickels.

Lynn Woodward met her future husband when she was working as a prison volunteer. When the two realized they wanted more than friendship, Lynn resigned and had to wait six months before she could talk to her boyfriend on the phone and more than a year before she could visit him in person.

As she became a regular visitor, Lynn Woodward said she and her husband developed a type of community bond with other inmates and their visitors. Other married couples are almost like neighbors, she said.

And the women whose husbands are behind bars form a special friendship, Lynn Woodward said. The wives call each other, eat dinner together and attend events, she said. She recently went to see a friend's daughter show a sheep at a livestock show.

Like Berry, Dave Woodward is a convicted murderer serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. His wife has faced the fact he probably will never come home but is disappointed, she said, that he won't at least have the chance.

"Either there's forgiveness and redemption or there's not," she said. "Either we are new creations in Christ or we're not."

Reporter---->
Carrie Coppernoll
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  #45  
Old 12-15-2005, 09:24 AM
Kbsles Kbsles is offline
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Default Question about Marriage License

Okay, I've been all over the doc site about getting married and I found where the inmate has to appear in person to get the marriage license, however what if his status does not allow him to leave the facility? What then. I called the court house to ask if they have to appear in person, and they were absolutely no help.
So does anyone know if its possible for the marriage license application to be completed by the inmate at the facility. I am assuming the facilities have notary publics on site. I haven't called the facility, and would rather not yet, as he was just transferred there last week. I want to give him time to get settled in before we start bringing any undue attention his way. Also, there is no big hurry to this at all.
Thanks again guys. Les
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  #46  
Old 12-15-2005, 01:33 PM
GOOBERMOM GOOBERMOM is offline
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Default Marriage License

In order for an inmate to get married, he has to be at a certain level and not have had any writeups for 6 months. He also has to have permission from the warden. When he goes to get his marriage license, the inmate is taken to the courthouse to sign papers in shackles with guards. Fiance is responsible for paying for marriage license & for cost for guards transporting him. At the facility where my daughter got married, this was all done the day of the marriage. At the courthouse at 8:00 & wedding at 10:00.
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  #47  
Old 12-19-2005, 03:24 PM
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kimMitchell kimMitchell is offline
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GooberMom is right, that's how mine was done almost two years ago, the only thing is that the money for the license had to be on his books and they took the money, I didn't have to have any money at the court house.
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Old 12-19-2005, 05:04 PM
GOOBERMOM GOOBERMOM is offline
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Default marriage license

Kim, You are right. Fiance is responsible for the money part. She has to get it on his books & the facility takes care of it. At Holdenville, you could order a wedding cake for $5 if you wanted one.
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  #49  
Old 12-20-2005, 01:00 AM
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TxRenee TxRenee is offline
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WoW I got married in Oklahoma/Lexington in June 2004. I had to pay for the marriage license myself the day I went to sign. I signed a week before we got married and they charged us 75.00 for him to be taken to the court house to sign on the day we got married.
He had to have the 75.00 on the books before they would take him.
The minister at the prison would not marry us...he said and I quote " I don't believe in Prison Weddings so I don't perform them"
He did however get us someone to marry us and he turned out to be a awesome man.
We didn't get cake or anything got married and they allowed us 20 min's to visit that was it.
I was pretty pissed at the time but its over and he is home in 2006!!
Be sure you check with his counsler and the prisons rules. I think it depends on where they are..

Hope this helps some.
Merry Christmas!!
Renee
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Old 09-17-2006, 10:06 PM
inlovewithgary inlovewithgary is offline
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Default Need info on getting married at Lawton Correctional Facility

My boyfriend is in Lawton Correctional Facility and we are wanting to get married. Does anyone know anything on what we should do first. I would apprecitate any help. One more thing, he will be moved to a drug treatment program at Davis Correctional Facility in 5 months. Does anyone know if this will take time off of his sentence? Thanks for all your help.
Lori
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