On average, there is a wedding in a Los Angeles County jail every other week.
At Pitchess Detention Center, the large jail complex in Castaic, California, weddings are performed through the glass of the visiting room window. This is where Elizabeth Wenkuna will marry inmate Hans Ritter. He's about to be moved hundreds of miles away to a state prison where he'll spend at least 10 years. She's 22 years old. Hans is her first boyfriend.
"I don't like to tell people that I'm married to a man in jail because then they look at him as a bad person, and he's not a bad person. He made a bad mistake," she says.
All prisoners have the right to marry. But there are lots of restrictions like, "No provisions shall be made for special religious or other ceremonial requests" and "No rings shall be passed to the inmate."
A jailhouse wedding can be complicated, so Elizabeth found a wedding planner who knows how it's done. Cindy Richardson has helped with lots of weddings, and explains why so many people get married even though they're separated by many miles and a layer of thick glass.
Photo: Elizabeth Wenkuna and her mother outside the jail (George Lavender)