Court: State may not be able to prevent CO from marrying inmate

Indiana Department of Corrections originally denied Rebecca Riker’s request to marry Paul Vest, citing it as a security risk


By C1 Staff

CARLISLE, Ind. — A former correctional officer with the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility may be allowed to marry a prisoner serving a 50-year sentence for robbery, according to a federal appeals court.

WBIW reports that the Indiana Department of Corrections originally denied Rebecca Riker’s request to marry Paul Vest, citing it as a security risk since Riker had “intimate” knowledge of the inside of the prison.

A U.S. District Judge upheld the DOC’s decision, but the decision was then reversed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appeals court found that the DOC was within its right to deny visitation privileges to Riker, but the DOC did not justify the risk in allowing Riker and Vest to marry.

“It is implausible to suggest, without some supporting evidence, that a brief marriage ceremony cannot be accommodated without threatening institutional security and without imposing more than a de minimis impact on prison resources,” Appeals Judge Kenneth Ripple wrote in his opinion for the unanimous three-judge panel.

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