Texas needs to introduce, support, and pass legislation and regulations allowing weddings and wedding bands at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons as well as consider any other law that may also strengthen strong family and community ties as among the best ways to improve public safety and reduce taxpayer expenses.
Family ties, and personal commitments such as marriage are a very important influence whether prisoners would revert to crime upon release. Those charged with the unenviable challenge of managing the Texas prison system could serve society better if they encouraged those in prison to nurture strong family and community ties. In the Second Chance Act of 2007, the U.S. Congress published findings indicating that strong family and community ties were the best indicators for success upon release.
On-site weddings are not allowed at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons. Security concerns are frequently mentioned. The minimal changes necessary for these blessed events to happen during a visitation are permission for a contact visit and the addition of a Pastor, Minister, Priest, Rabbi, Justice of the Peace, or someone authorized to perform the ceremony and this is a security concern? Religious or state representatives are a security concern?
Wedding bands are allowed in Texas state prisons if one enters them with one so it is already deemed not a security problem. Not all if any counties allow the bands, a catch 22 situation since they are the entry point to the system, nor is there a standard approval process for prisoners that marry during their confinement. Would the Governor's or Legislator's or TDCJ official's spouses find it helpful to the strength of their marriage if they were not wearing a wedding band? There is zero benefit to Texas for unequally restricting a prisoner or their family's wish to strengthen their ties with a wedding band.
Allowing on-site weddings and simple safe wedding bands in the TDCJ prisons would cost the Texas taxpayers nothing, and would strengthen marital and family ties for prisoners, a proven fact to reduce recidivism and save Texas tens of thousands of dollars for each year a prisoner does not return to prison, ultimately millions of dollars. A safer public, more likely to rehabilitate prisoners, important savings of scarce tax dollars, and no down side whatsoever, what more could you ask for?
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and for your serious consideration.