United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Mitchell United States Magistrate Judge.
above captioned case came on for hearing on April 24, 2017 on
Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief preventing the
defendants from denying her request to marry a prison inmate.
to Rule 65 (a)(2) the parties have agreed that the trial on
the merits be advanced into these proceedings. Following the
hearing and review of the documents of record, we make the
Stephanie Stum, an unmarried woman over the age of 18 who
wants to marry Wayne Black-Rhoden, an inmate in the custody
of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) currently housed at the State
Correctional Institution at Mercer (“SCI
Black-Rhoden is an unmarried man over the age of 18 and is a
legal permanent resident of the United States having
emigrated from Costa Rica as a teenager.
Stum, who lives in Cumberland County, visits Mr. Black-Rhoden
at SCI Mercer twice a month. They speak on the phone daily
and frequently write to one another.
Stum and Mr. Black-Rhoden seek to marry each other.
Black-Rhoden pleaded nolo contendere to charges of
statutory sexual assault and corruption of a minor in
February 2016. The victim was Ms. Stum's sister, who was
fifteen years of age at the time of the crime. He was
sentenced to one to two years imprisonment to be followed by
four years' probation.
Black-Rhoden entered Department of Correction
("DOC") custody in March 2016 and has been housed
at SCI Mercer since May 2016.
Since entering DOC custody, he has had no misconducts.
DOC recommended that Mr. Black-Rhoden complete the following:
a Sex Offender Program Evaluation, a Sex Offender Low
Intensity Program, and Thinking for a Change program at the
Black-Rhoden completed the Sex Offender Program Evaluation on
May 24, 2016; he completed the Thinking for a Change Program
which is a 25-session program that utilizes cognitive
restructuring and social skills interventions as methods of
changing criminal thinking, on September 20, 2016.
DOC offers two types of sexual treatment programming based on
the Medlin Responsible Living curriculum, one for low-risk
offenders and another for moderate-to-high risk offenders.
The sexual treatment program for low-risk offenders is
referred to as low intensity.
curriculum for sexual treatment programming for low-risk
offenders uses three phases of the Medlin program while the
curriculum for moderate-to-high risk offenders uses seven
phases of the Medlin program.
low-intensity sexual treatment programming generally takes
about eight months for inmates to complete.
Inmates in the low-intensity program meet in group counseling
sessions for approximately two hours each week and complete
Black-Rhoden has been participating in the Sex Offender Low
Intensity Program at SCI Mercer since November 2016 and is
scheduled to complete the program on June 19, 2017.
Mercer staff has recommended that Mr. Black-Rhoden be granted
parole once he completes the sexual treatment program.
Under Pennsylvania law, Mr. Black-Rhoden must complete a
sexual treatment program to be eligible for parole. 42 Pa.
Cons. Stat. § 9718.1.
Black Rhoden is scheduled to meet with the Parole Board in
James Harrington, a regional licensed psychologist manager
with the DOC, testified that the primary purpose of the
sexual treatment program is to prevent individuals from
Department of Corrections has a legitimate penological
interest in requiring inmates convicted of sex offenses to
participate in sexual treatment programming.
DOC has a policy governing inmate marriage which is set forth
in DC-ADM 821 and an inmate may not ...