'I do' from behind bars? Local woman helping inmates tie the knot

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Monday, March 20, 2017
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Local woman helping inmates tie the knot behind bars.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Saying 'I do' from prison used to be a difficult task, but thanks to a local woman, many are able to tie the knot from behind bars.

"Some (couples) I can look at them and it brings me joy to do what I'm doing," Jo Anne Hall said.

Hall is one of the few officiants in the state of Texas that is allowed to conduct prison ceremonies. Back in 2015, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice made changes to its intimate wedding directive and allowed prisoners to marry someone from the outside. Those ceremonies are usually performed in jail.

"My heart feels for these (couples) because I've been on this side and it's not an easy life," Hall said.

Both of her sons have been incarcerated, with one currently serving a 25-year sentence. After years of visitation and traveling, Hall says she understands the stress loved ones on the "outside" go through.

Whether inmates are in jail for theft or murder, Hall said she doesn't ask for details. She says at the end of the day, it's up to the bride.

"She's the one that loves him, she accepts him for what he is, for what he may or may not have done," Hall said.

Hall makes jewelry for her brides, trying to make their day just a little more special.

"I feel happy that I was able to share in their memorable moment in their lives," she added.

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