Weddings in southern prisons are ''rare'', with only a few
inmates marrying in the past 20 years.
Department of Corrections Southern regional manager Ian
Bourke said prison managers in Otago and Southland could
recall three weddings.
Weddings in New Zealand prisons were ''rare''. A national
prison poll in 2007 showed 18 prison weddings between 2004
and May 2007.
The three weddings in Otago and Southland prisons were held
about 1993, 1998 and 2004, but information on prison weddings
was not collected by the department and was ''merely
anecdotal'', Mr Bourke said.
A prisoner wishing to marry must obtain permission from the
prison manager, who would assess whether the marriage
ceremony posed a threat to the security or ''good order'' of
A maximum of 12 guests was allowed, but the list was at the
discretion of the prison manager, Mr Bourke said.
Wedding guests could take pictures of the newlyweds but only
in a location agreed by the prison manager, he said.
Weddings were funded by the prisoner, or a source approved by
the prison manager. Conjugal visits were not permitted.
''The weddings were often from relationships formed before
the prisoner went into prison and was not necessarily from
relationships formed during imprisonment.''
The department supported prisoners getting married because
positive relationships were important in reducing
reoffending, Mr Bourke said.
''The significant role that friends, family and spouses can
play in prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration are widely