ACLU challenging marriage ban for some Rhode Island inmates

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is suing the state Department of Corrections director on behalf of two inmates and the women they’re not allowed to marry.

The ACLU says it filed the lawsuit in federal court Thursday to challenge a 106-year-old statute declaring that inmates serving life sentences at adult correctional institutions are “civilly dead.”

State law says these inmates lose all civil rights, including the bond of matrimony. The ACLU says only three states terminate these rights.

The ACLU is representing Shelby Ferreira of East Providence and inmate Cody-Allen Zab, and Sharen Underwood of Warwick and inmate John Pacheco Jr.

Prison officials say they’re following the law as written.

Warwick officials whom the ACLU says wouldn’t give Pacheco and Underwood a license are named as defendants.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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