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"It's not very spectacular," according to 77 year-old retired Reverend Edwin Muller, who will officiate the wedding. I think they're allowed basically just a witness each."Muller's been involved with the New York state corrections system for more than 50 years.He helps out with weddings when asked by inmates like Pérez, who participates in a prison support group he still oversees.Pérez's ceiling time will be a little different this Valentine's Day: He'll be staring up for the first time as a married man.Today, 23 year-old Brie Morris and Pérez will exchange vows in a small room just off the visitor space at the Eastern Correctional facility.The national nonprofit The Sentencing Project cites statistics that 60 percent of the more than 2 million inmates in the United States are ethnic minorities. And Muller says it makes sense that Pérez would be a good catch, despite his situation."I think someone like José, definitely, at a very young phase in life, has gone deep.Forty-three year old Chris (who declined to give his last name) is an ex-convict living in New York who was incarcerated for a total of 14-and-a-half years.
"The reason she was married to me was because she wanted to know where her husband was, Monday through Friday, until she was ready to see him every 31 days.
Or in some cases they remarry." Brie Morris and José Pérez originally met the more modern way, online, about three years ago, on the website prisontalk.com, a kind of digital forum between prisoners and the outside world.
Pérez says that virtual meeting developed into letter writing and a real connection.
One even started recently over disagreements about a German American political theorist.
"We were talking about Hannah Arendt, working out one day, and it was a very, very vicious, violent argument. We were just attacking each other on what it means to be a human being and stuff like that.
That doesn't work in the real world when you're out. Chris also admits one of the reasons he was eager to get married was to get access to the state of New York's Family Reunion Program, where loved ones can spend part of a weekend on prison grounds in a trailer.