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Should a convicted murderer be able to get married while in prison?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on March 8, 2006

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Photo of Katie Hermes

“I would say yeah, they should be allowed to get married. They’re still human beings even though they’ve made some mistakes. They should still be able to find someone to love and be with.”

Photo of Joerg Meindl

“If they find someone who wants to marry them, I don’t see any problem with that.”

Photo of Phil Garcia

“No. If they’re in prison, their rights should be taken away. That’s why it’s prison.”

Photo of Tiffany Gammon

“I guess, if they are following the rules and doing what they’re supposed to in terms of their rehabilitation. Then it’s up to the person that wants to marry them. People do crazier things.”

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Rick Aldrich 9 years, 8 months ago

they have no rights to be left breathing let alone getting married. let them marry bubby in cell block A. hahaha.

Larry 9 years, 8 months ago

Nice one Jonas. Be afraid, be very afraid.

getagrip 9 years, 8 months ago

Thank God murderers can marry and gays can't!

Linda Aikins 9 years, 8 months ago

Maybe Bob-Claus will get it for me for the holidays!

Thanks Princess Sue!

Ceallach 9 years, 8 months ago

Sorry for the long post, I got carried away.

craigers 9 years, 8 months ago

Wow blue that was scary. I'm thinking she will be in Scary Movie 80!

jonas 9 years, 8 months ago

Sorry Larry, but the only difference between us is that I know that I'm delusional, and you think that you're normal. That makes you more dangerous than me.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

OMB, from the movie or Carol Burnette's version?

acg 9 years, 8 months ago

I Love Carol Burnette's version! I loved her show. Classic tv for sure.

craigers 9 years, 8 months ago

Very nice Beatrice. I had a good chuckle with that one.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

Yes, Badger, but what is your favorite sound effect? You're getting off topic ;o)

beatrice 9 years, 8 months ago

bearded: crazy reactions on the sound effects -- well done! And you know, while I might complain about Republicans from time to time, really about 85% is just fun and games from this yellow-dog Democrat. Peace, bea

sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

Gootsie, I was in the DVD section the other day and saw that you can buy N.E.'s complete series.

badger 9 years, 8 months ago


You would have been way down in the low three hundreds, except that I voted for you twelve hundred and thirty-eight times.

Uh...jonas made me do it....


sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

Das, are you calling me stupid? Seriously, 'cause I wouldn't know.

OMB, friction! You are the quick one...too funny!

mhollrah 9 years, 8 months ago

Wouldn't it be interesting and downright bizarre if the same people who thought it necessary to "protect" marriage by making it illegal for homosexuals saw no problem with "protecting" marriage for convicted murderers--especially those who might have killed a former spouse? Indeed, let's reserve the term "marriage" for these special relationships.

james bush 9 years, 8 months ago

A monster who strangles to death a sleeping, helpless, trusting woman who is the mother of his children should have NO, NOT ANY, life to lead, much less any priviliges or comforts in his life.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

Is anyone alarmed that "stupid" people breed faster than "intelligent" ones? Does this contribute to global warming?

Linda Aikins 9 years, 8 months ago

My favorite noise (but it's on TV) - the doink doink on the Law and Order shows.

Yes, Princess Sue, you are still smartest. And it's mostly because you too loved Northern Exposure. I wish it was still on.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 8 months ago

catchin up: do normal men go into porn theaters? [re above].

Sunflower_sue, you are a princess, fergedaboudit...don't let'em shake that. just hang on to your inner princess.

wonderful sound, I'm so happy with all this, and learned a lot, rE bird calls, and the wilfred, etc. pretty good work all yawl!

finally, prisoners lose their right to vote, kinda basic right they lose, eh? while I see Baj's comments RE implications, I do not see a problem with society deciding to grant or remove priviledges based on behavior, its done that for thousands of years.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 8 months ago

delusional...normal...points on a continuum

Ceallach 9 years, 8 months ago

Best movie sound? No sound at all -- In Cold Blood, Hickock and Smith have just agreed that if the door is locked they will leave the Clutter's property -- the hand is reaching for the door -- everyone in the audience knows --- the door is unlocked!!!!!!! Extreme mental suspense and terror grip the viewers. At least that's what happened to me :- One of only a few movies to cause me to have nightmares.

I'm going to go check out badger's work on the Martin marriage article (speaking of nightmares :)

beatrice 9 years, 8 months ago

related movie sound effect: the snap of a weighted rope - as in "Hang 'em High"

Ceallach 9 years, 8 months ago

Thank you each and every one!! I've been in boring meetings from 11:15 to 4:15. Coming back and seeing your posts cheered me right up!

Das: no one who took minding their own business seriously would ever post here :) I doubt that there have been half a dozen questions that were really any of our business. That the whole idea :):)

xenophonschild 9 years, 8 months ago

I'm probably the only convicted murderer - and I've never been married, to either sex - to add to this cornucopia of enlightenment and humor, and the one sentiment that crowds out all others is that I'm really glad I never met some of you in life, and never hope to.

Someone earlier raised the most germane point - Who picks these idiotic questions? At a time when genuinely vital issues and questions cry out for reflection and discussion, why should anyone care about something so mundane? Over thirty-one years in six different prisons (I was kicked out of four of them) I can recall only a handful of guys getting married, and usually they did so to lock some poor wretch on the streets into an alliance where they provided money, visits, etc., in return for the illusion of intimacy.

Let's prepare for the war against Islam and forget the superflous.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

Movie sound: hubby votes for any noise made by R2D2

Larry 9 years, 8 months ago

Hey Jonas, thanks for the thoughtful comments. Anytime your in need of neuroleptic drugs, let me know. A good doctor would obviously prescribe some for you. I have some friends who can help you out. You could start out with some Thorazine and if that doesn't work, try some haloperidol or chlorpromazine. It would do wonders for you. Remember - we're just having fun. Have a great evening!

sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

Das, You mean, hiccup, my Mom lied to me sniff when she said I was the smartest person in the world? sniff, hiccup I guess now you're going to tell me I'm not a princess, either. Dream smasher! ;)

Badger, I remember that fluffy "dust mop" doggie. Wasn't the world funnier when it wasn't soooo pc?

badger 9 years, 8 months ago


I think the world was lots funnier when it was less worried about the potential offense contained in every single statement.

If you want to be a princess, I know where you can get a tiara. Don't let that mean old Ubermime steal your princess powers.

He's just jealous cause he found out he came in eleventh in the Pretty Pretty Prettiest Princess Prettiness Parade.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

Gnome, my favorite cartoon sound: when Whyle E. Cyote (pronounced ki-oh-Tay) falls off a cliff and hits the bottom and all you hear is a very small poof Cracks me up even now!

sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

MultiD, Seems Northern Exposure was guilty of more than one bird faux pas. In one episode, they were out hunting some kind of titmouse and when they found it, it put out a chickadee call. (Should have hired us as their "bird call researchers." Wonder what that would have paid? Oh, who cares! I loved that show. I would have worked for free.

beatrice 9 years, 8 months ago

jonas: thanks for the Wilfred info -- I'll keep an ear open for it in the future. Very cool.

md: I mentioned the sound of the bullets in Saving Private Ryan last night -- too scary. I also thought about the sound of the electric razor in Shaving Ryan's Privates -- completely different movie, but you get the idea.

Speaking of Ryan, Meg that is -- wow! So this is what happens when the annoyingly cute refuses to age gracefully. I don't feel sorry for her, or for Jennifer Grey. It is easy to be a pretty young girl, but it takes class to be an attractive older woman. I feel that they tried to cheat nature, and got caught.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

Bea, "When bad guys get it in the end." Classic. roflmao (yes, I learned a new acronym yesterday...thought I'd try it out.) :o)

Larry 9 years, 8 months ago

I agree Das_Ubermime. I will try to steer clear of the humor because, after all, you have the humor market cornered.

killjoy 9 years, 8 months ago

harley, Too funny - thanks for the chuckle!

YourItalianPrincess 9 years, 8 months ago

If Pee Wee Herman was just an ordinary man like other men who go to porn theaters he probably wouldn't have gotten arrested. He had a famous face and got caught what other men may do while in there also.

As far as the question..........Why would anyone want to marry someone locked up anyway. The only good thing is that the wife would know her prison husband isn't cheating on her, unless hes got a male lover in there.

People do some crazy things in their lives and marrying while locked up is one of them.

acg 9 years, 8 months ago

I don't think I have a favorite movie sound. I definitely have a least favorite though: the sounds of that guy sawing his own foot off in Saw I. That mortified me.

samsnewplace 9 years, 8 months ago

------NO, would you want a convicted murderer marrying your son or daughter?-------

Lee Eldridge 9 years, 8 months ago

I now pronounce you, husband and husband.

Sandra Willis 9 years, 8 months ago

Chuckling here ... #1: Since Martin already has children (from the wife he murdered) ... I suggest that he be neutered. #2: this woman who longs to marry him ... she was on the jury that convicted him? Did they already know each other _ beforehand?

Shelley Bock 9 years, 8 months ago

Why should we care? I don't. Let's move on to real news and issues.

jonas 9 years, 8 months ago

Larry's prison would be uncontrollable. A riot a day!

Much like his society.

samsnewplace 9 years, 8 months ago

OTTR I realize this....maybe I should have said, why should a convicted murderer be given ANY rights? Is his/her victim able to enjoy their rights any longer, I think not.

jonas 9 years, 8 months ago

No, no Larry. Just because you see the world in cartoonishly distorted extremes, doesn't mean that have to as well.

. . . .and the prison you described sounds quite a lot like the old Bastille, from FRANCE!!!!

/Larry goes into cognitive dissonance.

Linda Endicott 9 years, 8 months ago

I think it's "face it girls, I'm older and I have better insurance."

Well, since this guy could potentially be up for parole in a few years, he could possibly get out, kill another wife, and we'd have to pay for another trial.

Bodan, she was a witness for the defense...not on the jury. And she was supposedly friends with the woman he was dallying with at the time. Nice kind of friend to have, huh?

linux_chick 9 years, 8 months ago

agreed, TOB. I think this girl marrying Miller is missing a few pegs, but if she's willing, whatever.

We're not any safer or less safe as a community if our offenders get married.

Staci Dark Simpson 9 years, 8 months ago

Why would she want to marry him? Does she know what he did to his last wife? Maybe this is good. She can say she is married but doesn't have to cook for him, pick up his socks, wash his clothes, have relations, listen to hunting and fishing stories.....

nb4d 9 years, 8 months ago

Simple solution:

  1. Let her marry him.
  2. Let her pay extra money to help supplement his stay in prison, so as to ease our tax burden.

jonas 9 years, 8 months ago

The best movie sound is the "Wilfred." I think that's it's name, that or something close to it. It's an inside joke in the moving making industry, and originated during a cowboy/indian movie way the hell back in the day.

During the scene in Star Wars (the first one) when Luke and Leah are in the Death Star, right before they swing across, Luke shoots a stormtrooper who falls into the big pit, and the scream he makes as he falls is the Wilfred. I say "he makes" but it's just a soundfile dubbed in, of course. Once you learn to listen to it, it's simply everywhere, at least in just about every action flick made, it seems. Both spidermans, the Lord of the Rings, and others all have it. Listen for it.

beatrice 9 years, 8 months ago

Favorite incarcerated actor: Tom Sizemore Favorite prisoner actor: Charlize Theron (Monster)

DasU: "Why is it that everytime prison gets brought up there's a whole bunch of people snickering over anal sex like a bunch of school girls?" Because as Americans we like it when the bad guy gets it in the end.

Favorite Prison film: Shawshank Redemption (Tim Robbins -- a liberal girl's dream!)

avhjmlk 9 years, 8 months ago

ottr--I think the line actually goes: "...I'm older and I have more insurance."

badger 9 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, forgot to add:

No conjugal visits.

Nookie is not a constitutional right, and lack of quality time with the wife does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment - though harley and TOB may be in for some cruel and unusual times unless they make up with their respective honies...


beatrice 9 years, 8 months ago

Cea: "If Kansas does not allow conjugal visits, I predict that Martin will become a bigomist by marrying one of his fellow inmates. Do you suppose she will forgive him for that?" It will be just like the movie "Brokeback Mountain," but with a death-row prison twist. A love story between a man, a woman ... and his cell-mate. Phillip Seymour Hoffman will play an author who is writing about this tale of love behind bars. We can call it "In Cold Blood Mountain."

trinity 9 years, 8 months ago

i dunno derf, maybe a chisel engraved with their names&wedding date? ;)

let's just hope&pray that ms. cuthbertson(sp?)doesn't try to initiate a dog program eh?

beatrice 9 years, 8 months ago

It makes me think of the old Ernie Kovaks joke, "If I'd killed my wife the first time I thought about it, I'd be out of prison by now."

Ladies, feel free to insert "husband" into this joke.

badger 9 years, 8 months ago

I think people should be able to marry whomever they want, honestly.

Now, as he's effectively a ward of the state, I appreciate that he has to go through marriage counseling, but I think that should be paid for with private funds, not tax dollars. Let the two of them pay for it, if they're so anxious to wed. It's not like they don't have plenty of time to save up the money for the counseling. It's hardly a shotgun wedding.

Confrontation 9 years, 8 months ago

I found this at

Reasons Why Women Marry Prisoners They Really Don't Know

Identification with aggressive personality

Rescue fantasies

An act of compassion

A way of showing sympathy for a political cause or for an outcast

A way to be the center of attention and in the limelight

Fills need to be needed and to feel important

A desire for danger or thrills

Out of a sense of rebellion

As a ticket to citizenship

Fills void caused by failure of, disappointment in, or lack of romantic relationships

Allows marriage and motherhood without having to deal with a husband everyday

The "rescue fantasies" really cracks me up! Also, can a prisoner really apply for citizenship of a spouse if married behind bars? That's interesting...

kansas_prairieland 9 years, 8 months ago

Well, them male inmates are already having lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lot and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of sex behind bars, hey, why not allow them to marry??!

Oh, wait!

Are we talking about a male inmate marrying a woman?!

Oh, no!

Forget what I just said!

I'm against that!

I thought this question was about male inmates being able to marry other male inmates!

Oops! My bad!

Ceallach 9 years, 8 months ago

If it isn't against the law for any other inmate to marry then he should be allowed to do so. I have questions that to me seem more important than "should they be able to get married?".

**I thought people were't allowed to profit from their crimes -- if you murder your spouse and are thereby eligible to seek your next spouse -- aren't you profiting from your crime?

**What's with that church? This isn't the first highly publicized criminal with connections to that group! I know all churches are full of sinners, but aren't we supposed to be working on overcoming our weaknesses? (hint: the answer to the last one is yes, we are)

**Doesn't he need mental therapy more than marriage counseling?

**How does this guy manipulate the minds of these women to the point that they can't live without some connection to him?

If Kansas does not allow conjugal visits, I predict that Martin will become a bigomist by marrying one of his fellow inmates. Do you suppose she will forgive him for that?

Larry 9 years, 8 months ago

Careful acg - in "The World According to Jonas" - (insert visual -index finger and middle finger in quote position (aka Austin Powers), you are being too cruel for the bleeding liberal hearts. We might hurt a felons feelings if we take away their amenities and we could even cause riots. Course we could simply lock them in their cells all day but that might be cruel and unusually punishment (insert Austin Powers finger in quote position) in the world that Jonas lives in.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 8 months ago

Bea, isn't that "Indian American?" snicker

Gee, wouldn't that make my momma proud! "Mom, I found the man of my dreams..." Anyone who "falls in love" with a convicted murderer should go for treatment immediately. Can you say "intervention?"

Gnome, in reply to last night's favorite movie sound effect: I like the "flatulance" scene at the end of "A Knight's Tale."

acg 9 years, 8 months ago

I don't think murdering prisoners should get anything but the bare minimum. Every once in a while someone should come thru and just kick the holy crap out of them for good measure, too. If you can't make it thru one little lifetime without murdering someone than who gives a crap if you find love or happiness? The person you murdered won't know these things.

beatrice 9 years, 8 months ago

I just want to know -- Who is the convicted murderers' favorite American Indian actor?

bearded_gnome: Nice prediction last night on today's question!

Seriously, the idea that a woman would want to marry a person convicted of murder -- having met him after his being convicted of killing his previous wife!! -- is a sure sign that the woman has serious problems. I guess it is the ultimate in thinking you can get your guy to change his evil ways. She needs to have her head examined.

trinity 9 years, 8 months ago

i think the idea of marriage in prison is just plain goofy. and what of the woman who wants and takes a solemn vow, to somebody who may never be able to share a bed-or in harley's case take out the trash?? ;) i'm sorry, i just don't think i could EVER hitch my wagon to somebody who has done a crime that earned 'em 25-life; let alone for MURDERING his WIFE!!! egads.

love hannibal&harley's comments! you guys make-a me laugh. :)

Solti 9 years, 8 months ago

Right on, Larry! Prisoners are given way to many privileges already-and at our expense. Sure, they are humans as well, but they also made a bad choice. Perhaps if they were put to work while in prison, (picking up trash along road sides or something else that contributes to society) we'd have fewer people making bad choices like that.

As it stands now....lets see if I rob this bank and don't get caught, that's great. If I do get caught at least I'll have all my expenses covered for life, including medical, food & shelter, entertainment, exercise! Not bad either...I think I'll do it!

Marriage? No way! There ARE consequences for our actions.

enochville 9 years, 8 months ago

I feel that a true first degree murderer should not be able to marry in prison. He or she has stolen life and all that that entails from his or her victim. It would be sending the wrong message to the nation's populace and would be insensitive to the victim's family.

Those who are married at the time of their murder may remained married, but there should be no conjugal visits for any prisoner.

Inmates should have to pay child support by working in prison.

xenophonschild 9 years, 8 months ago

Until the advent of the "hard 40" and "hard 50," most murderers in Kansas were, or will be, paroled some day. They were/are approaching old age, and if marriage provides stability for their release, then its a good thing. If the marriage is unhealthy, in that it is two crippled souls latching onto one another, it will probably unravel after the murderer is released.

I was in prison for 31 years for murder, and consciously avoided any romantic entanglements as distractions from the grind of survival.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 8 months ago

removes her from the gene pool?
sorry, conjugal visits mean they could repro! yuck!

answer to ots question: yes, should be allowed to marry, under the following conditions: 1. proposed spouse should already be a prisoner, also convicted of killing, in this case, of killing her hubby; 2. women in such marriages, sterilized before marriage, despite the ACLU!; 3. create a reality show based on the prison families, to raise money for the program...title this some one?; 4. locate this facility for "married prisoners" sepearate from other prisoners...let's say, on an island in the misouri river?

for this woman in today's news story, at least she always knows where her man is!

thanks Bea...sometimes I get it right, like the thousand monkeys before a thousand keyboards?

good suggestions for best movie sound effect.

and, finally before I wander off, thanks Bea for your concern for myself and mrs. gnome. now, if I could just rangle these computers into the right corale,,,I'd have more time... thanks Ceallach. I think yellowrose might write you again. don't think she knew you were half injun...she's 1/4 injun...and I think there's another 1/8 that wasn't on the rolls for official.

Larry 9 years, 8 months ago

Prisoners lose their rights????????? Good grief - I remember years ago, out of curiousity, my wife and I drove past the yard at the Lansing State Pen. The inmates were outside having an organized game of softball. Not a big deal really except for the fact that both teams were decked out in full uniforms. Hats, jerseys, pants. At the time, my wife and I were law abiding, tax paying citizens who just had a discussion as to where we would get the money to pay our fees for a coed softball team in Lawrence. We were young newlyweds fighting and scratching from month to month. The site of those prisoners in full uniform at tax payer cost is something that I'll probably never forget. We also couldn't afford insurance at the time due to grad fees, living expenses, yet I'm sure the prinsoners were getting plenty of medical attention when needed. With that said - we give them far too much as it is. The only ting we should guarantee is food, shelter, and medicine required to keep them alive. No TV's, no weight rooms, X-Box, etc. They can't vote - don't let them marry either.

badger 9 years, 8 months ago

Das_U said:

"The way I see this, this issue is a big load of none-of-our-business. I don't see how a person who isn't going to get out anytime soon being married to another person has any effect on the rest of us. Seems like people who enter into prison married are allowed to stay married, so I don't see any harm in letting them get hitched in prison either. In fact, to forbid them seems a bit much like vengence and that just doesn't sit right with me. Something to the effect of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind."

The second part of what you said, for me, mostly answers the first part. I'll admit to a certain degree of morbid head-shaking over why a woman would marry someone convicted of murdering his first wife, but my real fascination with it has to do with how we set up marriage as a set of civil rights and privileges. That's got deeper implications for me.

If it's determined that Martin Miller (or any prisoner) can be denied the right to wed because he's incarcerated, then that establishes to some degree that marriage is in and of itself a secular thing, a legal arrangement the right to which is granted or not granted by the state. It removes a great deal of the 'religion' from the equation, if it's formally reduced to a set of rights equivalent to voting rights or freedom of movement.

If it's determined that Martin Miller (or any prisoner) can marry how and when he chooses, then we start along the path of 'If the state can't restrict the right to wed for prison inmates, how valid is its assertion that it can restrict the right to wed and manner of marriage for anyone else?'

I agree that it is vengeance, and that taking away the right to marry (so long as one is not already wed) seems unbalanced reflected against the notion that those married when they enter prison aren't required to get a divorce.

So, when it comes to Marty Miller and his fiancee personally, I have an opinion about the situation (cause, well, I'm human) but no right to expect that opinion to have weight in their decision-making. But when it comes to the larger role of how we allow or don't allow rights to prison inmates, and the manner in which we define the rights and privileges surrounding the institution of marriage, every time someone says "People shouldn't be allowed to do X thing because they're Bad People(tm) and the state should take away their rights!" it interests me.

badger 9 years, 8 months ago

Ottr: I'm not saying 'bad people' shouldn't do a thing. Please reread. I'm saying that whenever someone's justification for altering or restricting someone else's rights or behaviour is that 'so-and-so is a Bad Person(tm) so Bad People(tm) need to not be able to do X so that so-and-so can't hurt such-and-such person,' then I perk up my little badgery ears and listen, because I think it's important that we not change laws or social structures based on wanting to stop or protect someone in one specific situation.

Ubermime: I agree, and suggest that it's become a natural human response to leap from 'Do you think this person should do this thing?' to 'Do you think this person should be allowed to do this thing?" to 'Do you think that people should be allowed to do this thing?' I'm not fond of the trend, which is one reason I tend to get involved in conversations like this, to try and follow along and point out the implications of people's reactionary decisions. All too often, a lot of it boils down to something like, "He killed his wife and she was a nice lady everyone liked and now this other gullible woman wants to marry him and she shouldn't and since I don't know her and she wouldn't listen to me the only way I can protect her from herself is to advocate a law for everyone, and darn the implications for marital and penal laws already in place!"

I get nervous when people get all emotional and start mucking with the law.

My favorite sound effect (SORRY!): There was a short-lived new muppet show called Muppets Tonite. On one of the episodes, a small yappy muppet dog came running towards someone. That someone punted the yappy muppet dog, and the combination of, "THWACK! Yi! Yi! Yi! (increasing in volume as the muppet dog flew towards the camera) CLONGGGG (As it bounced off the railing)!" dropped me flat to the floor in hysterical laughter, and still can to this day.

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