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Prison Wedding Rules per
Department of Corrections

Inmate Marriages

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry permits offenders to marry provided that the marriage is legal and does not pose a risk to the safe, secure and orderly operation of the Department or jeopardize public safety. Permission to marry does not supersede or change any instructions governing visitation, release procedures, mail and property or phone calls.

An offender applying to marry should review Department Order 904 at their library for an outline of the process.

For further information about the marriage application process, refer to Department Order 904, Section 904.07.



     7.1Inmates shall obtain a Marriage Application, Form 904-2, from institutional chaplains and complete Sections I and II of the Marriage Application and return it to the chaplain they received the form from.

        7.1.1 Chaplains receiving Marriage Applications shall:

        Review applications to determine their completeness.

        Return incomplete applications with instructions for proper completion.

        Accept and review completed applications to determine if applying inmates and their prospective spouses meet the eligibility requirements in through of this section.

        Document in the appropriate comments section if the applying inmates or their prospective spouses fail to meet any of the eligibility requirements and forwarding the Marriage Application packet to their Warden or Deputy Warden.

                   Inmates at Department institutions may appeal disapprovals of Marriage Applications by writing to the appropriate Regional Operations Director within ten work days after being notified of the disapproval. Inmates’ requests to marry other inmates are not appealable.

                  Inmates assigned to private prison facilities shall appeal to the Contract Beds Operations Director.

                  Decisions made by the Contract Beds Operations Director or the Regional Operations Director shall be final.

                  If circumstances have changed, inmates may reapply 60 calendar days from the date the first application was disapproved.

     7.2Approved inmate marriages shall remain valid for one year unless withdrawn by Wardens or Deputy Wardens if inmates become ineligible provided:

         7.2.1Marriages are:

        To be performed legally.

        Not a risk to the safe, secure and orderly operation of the Department or jeopardize public safety.

        Not to another inmate.

         7.2.2 Both inmates and their prospective spouse are not:

        Currently married.

        Mentally incapacitated.

        Of a blood relation of first cousins or closer.

         7.2.3 Inmates:

        Do not have any pending disciplinary charges.

        Are not confined in detention units, disciplinary isolation or investigative "lock up" detention.

        Are eligible for visitors at the time of the application through to their marriage ceremony.

     7.3 Permission to marry does not supersede or change any instructions governing visitation, release procedures, mail and property or phone calls.

         7.3.1 Refer to the appropriate Department Order for complete rules and regulations.

     7.4 If not in the best interests of the community, marriages do not guarantee or mandate inmates will be approved to reside with their new spouse upon transfer from an institution to any release under community supervision.

     7.5 Whether indigent or not, all inmates applying for marriage applications shall accept full financial responsibility for all marriage process expenses including license fees and ceremony expenses.

     7.6 In accordance with Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) §25-125,valid marriage ceremonies are conducted in the presence of persons authorized to solemnize marriages.

        7.6.1 Telephonic marriages are not authorized.

     7.7 Chaplains shall coordinate with all parties involved including the Clerk of the Superior Court, security staff, inmates and their prospective spouses to obtain marriage licenses. Copies of marriage licenses shall be attached to Marriage Application packets.

     7.8 Once Marriage Applications are approved, chaplains shall coordinate ceremony arrangements including:

        7.8.1 Ensuring ceremonies are performed by approved clergy or Justices of the Peace to fulfill legal requirements.

        7.8.2 Inmates, their prospective spouses and two lawfully aged witnesses are present for the ceremony.

        7.8.3 Inmates are not in special clothing for a marriage ceremony.

        7.8.4 Photographs are not taken and no other publicity arrangements are made.

        7.8.5 Rings are not exchanged during the ceremony.

       Refer to Department Order #909, Inmate Propertyfor additional information on wedding rings.

     7.9Inmates marrying in violation of this Department Order may be charged with disobeying a direct order and disciplined for such activity in accordance with Department Order #803, Inmate Disciplinary Procedure.

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