Wedding in Shackles
Author's Note: This is a fake story I helped write based off an actual newspaper article. I had a friend doing the editing. She is into bondage and thought it would be fun to rewrite it to make it like a story in a periodical. The story was co-written by a slave that goes by the name of Antimony.
Cooperville, Texas (AP)— In a Martin County courtroom, Amy Jones crosses her bare feet at the ankles as she leans over her chair analyzing a schematic. “I think I like this one, does it come in blue?” she asks. Several tables are arranged around her, and well-dressed professionals with massive 3-ring binders are demonstrating and discussing options. Standing 5’1”, a classic beauty with her brunette hair fixed in a ponytail, Amy looks like any young college coed that would be found in the library, at lunch with friends, or studying under a tree. But here, she looks out of place, especially in chains connecting her wrists and ankles and wearing a standard prison issued linen blouse and skirt.
She gets out of her chair to view the opposite side of the schematic much more closely. Her once silent restraints begin to jingle as she shuffles around the table adjusting her waist chain in the process to give her handcuffs the slack they need so that she can point to an item for clarification. “I think I would love that texture of this rug.”
“Yes, most brides like the look,” replied the vender “but there is the potential to cause you to snag your heel and trip.”
“Oh, I will not be wearing shoes, this will be a barefoot wedding, and that reminds me, I need to ask Janice if she would be willing to give me a pedicure the day before the wedding.” Interacting as if she were oblivious to her restrained state, she is about to answer another question, commenting on the arrangement of chairs and flowers, when a voice from the other side of the room interrupts her thoughts.
"Sweetie... Amy? Do you want to invite your grandmother?" Deputy and 3rd year law student Chris Keller asks her. Soon he walks over to her, just arriving to join the conversation. He takes her cuffed hands in to his and gives her a kiss on the lips. Instinctively, she rises up on her tiptoes to meet his lips, the chain connecting her ankles and resting on the tops of her bare feet slipping off onto the floor. One can imagine how this scene should play out in a cozy house somewhere in the country, with a barefoot Amy, after a long day organizing and arranging what will be there home, greeting her fiancee as he comes home. But the reality is a barefoot Amy heavily shackled at the wrists and ankles meeting her beloved at the courthouse where she was temporarily transferred from her cell for this meeting.
Chris is dressed in a suit and they are meeting to discuss wedding details with numerous vendors who heard about and were moved by their story. It seems an odd place and unusual circumstances under which to be planning a wedding on a Friday morning, but the couple are happy, and the love story of Jones, 24, and Keller, 25, likely never would have begun had she not had her fateful conviction that landed her in jail for the last couple of years. Next week, the judge assigned to her criminal case will preside over a hearing of a different kind.
Circuit Judge Rick Slack agreed to marry the two after Keller sent a letter to the judge asking him to perform the ceremony. "I think he was really touched by the letter, so he said yes," Keller said. The couple said the ceremony will solidify a relationship that started in jail, blossomed despite her incarceration and endured through her recent transfer.
The love story began when Jones was placed on work detail as an inmate at the Bolen County Jail were Keller was a deputy early last year — she had been serving time for fraudulent use of a credit card for electronic transactions while in her third year of college. Amy is frank about her conviction. “I deserve to be here. I allowed my previous boyfriend to manipulate me into setting up fraudulent accounts using credit card info he had stolen.”
But on that fateful day their eyes met. Talking for both of them, Chris says, "It was love at first sight, we fell in love before we even got to hold hands. I remember seeing this petite beautiful woman working diligently in the local park’s garden. I remember it like it was yesterday.” Amy is smiling while biting her lip. It was obvious that she loved to hear this story. “She wore a faded light blue cotton dress that ended at her knees. She was barefoot, shackled at the ankles and her soles were nearly black, outlined perfectly from the heel to her toes from all the soil she was walking through. She looked more the picture of a southern belle than a typical inmate."
Amy interrupts, saying “I love working in the garden, planting flowers or vegetables. It is the one thing I looked forward to while in county jail. I was always the first one he brought water to and he would sneak me my favorite chocolates to eat later when I was back in my cell.” She turns to Keller, smiling. “Those outings were a fun time. Though I will admit, I am a southern girl and it was a hot summer, you would not have been able to get shoes on me if you had tried,” laughing while adding a little playful banter to the conversation.
She thought he was cute, he liked the pride she took in making the garden look pretty and the way he seemed to be able to talk to her about anything. They kept in touch by sending notes to each other, and when on duty, Chris made sure to get her out of her cell to take a walk. “Yeah, that was probably against regulation, but no one said anything.”
Then Amy offers some insight, looking at Chris, “I always thought it was cute that you would apologize for having to cuff and shackle me before going on those walks when in reality I did not mind the chains if it meant spending some time with you.”
Jones, who was finishing a two year sentence for her second of the three convictions was about to start the remaining five year sentence at a minimum security facility a few months later. Feeling the time to be right, Chris asked Amy to be his wife. She blushes when she tries to tell the story of his proposal. "It was kind of... it was untraditional," Jones said, smiling. "It was different." Arriving one morning to take her for a walk, Keller showed up outside her cell. “He was carrying the restraint bag, I thought nothing of it and immediate put my hands through the port hole of my cell to get handcuffed. He pulled out the handcuffs and fumbled putting them on my wrists, I could sense he was nervous about something but I was clueless and had decided to ask him later about it, thinking that he was anxious about upcoming law exams. He then opened the door to my cell and put the bag on the floor. Getting down on one knee I thought he would pull out my leg irons, and I actually had distracted myself. He brought me a new nail polish the evening before and I put in on. I was hoping he would say something about my toes as he locked the cuffs around my ankles, but to my surprise, he pulled out a gorgeous 1 karat diamond ring. I gasped and immediately said ‘yes’ before he even asked.” Then she laughed again. ”And we had a giggle when he asked anyway. He put the ring on my finger and while I was admiring it he pulled out another surprise.” In addition to a ring, Keller presented his fiancée with a full set of custom fitted highly polished titanium shackles with intricate engravings of scenes of nature and her name on each cuff, “It was odd gift for most future brides,” she admits, but adds showing her practical side. ”I loved them, and they were perfect since I would have to be shackled in something for the wedding”
This reporter was confused, so she explained. “You see, in being transferred to a minimum security facility I am required to wear permanent restraints with GPS tracking since escape is easy at such places. I had already been measured for restraints, but Chris, I learned later, had taken the measurements and ordered personalized cuffs from a German company after getting approval from the prison board.” Then she shows me. ”These shackles were built for long-term restraint. they were built specifically for me and precisely to all my measurements.” I note the lack of skin abrasion and the features engineered against such injury. “They are light and comfortable which was perfect for my situation, having to be continuously shackled. In all,” she says jokingly and with animation, ”I was as excited about my new chains as the ring. We spent a few minutes in my cell hugging, kissing and laughing.” I noted the lack of locks and ask about them. “They are permanent, they can only be cut off.” I then realized why she carried herself like she was oblivious to them.
In February of this year, soon after the engagement, Amy was transferred to McCellan minimum security prison where they were immediately married. Amy explains, “Once I was transferred to the new facility I was allowed much more freedom and was told I could have unsupervised visitation with my spouse one night a week. It did not take any imagination to know what we wanted to do, so we got the justice of the peace to quickly marry us.”
I asked why they wanted to repeat the ceremony since they were already married and why not wait until she gets out. Chris answers, “I want her to have a real wedding in a church or back yard and now that she is transferred we have time to plan it.”
Then Amy adds, “Five years is a long time to wait for the real thing.” I asked Amy what else she does while Chris is in school. “Well, I recently finished and graduated from college with a degree in accounting.” Then she pauses, holding back a smile, “But I do not think I will be using it much since my attention will be occupied with other things.” She adds finally allowing a smile as she rubs her slightly prominent belly with her shackled hands. “I am expecting in December.” she gives him a wink and he grabs her hand, looking at him she continues, “He's one of a kind, I've never met anyone like him."
But a prison-type wedding takes some extra planning and coordination even if the prisoner is considered minimum security. Judge Schack on Friday called clerks from family services into the courtroom to help the couple fill out request for security detail and reservations for a prison van. Schack, who doubles as an ordained minister, said he will marry them in his small country church. He was quiet about the specifics of the ceremony, but said it would be done in a way to respect the bride’s dignity. “She will be required to be fully shackled, but that will be one of the only indicators that she is something other than a regular June bride."
When I ask Amy about the details, she laughs, “Well, of course, I will be barefoot, but I would have gone barefoot anyway had I not been an inmate. Everything will be fairly normal except my dress is being altered to accommodate my shackles.”
For Schack, who has performed 150 to 200 weddings in the 16 years he's been on the bench, the wedding wasn't a special favor. He said he's performing the ceremony simply because Keller asked.
Later, I was able to catch up with the two bridesmaids as they showed up to help with planning. After a warm greeting between the bride and groom, we sat down to talk. “We are so excited for Amy and Chris.” said Emma Johnson. She and the other bridesmaid Jenny Acheson had spent time in the county jail with Amy and had kept up with her giving encouragement and advice after their release. When asked about helping the bride with planning while she is incarcerated. Jenny adds, “We love doing this for her. We met with the tailor of her dress and have brought it back and forth from prison for touch ups. We have helped with ordering the cakes and other things.”
When asked about special gifts for Amy since there will not be a wedding shower, Emma pipes up, ”We have some things for her cell and stuff for the baby, but we think she will like our personal touch for the wedding.”
Jenny interjects, ”Part of the reason why we are meeting here is so that we can try on our dresses and practice walking in full shackles.”
Emma adds, “we plan on going barefoot and fully shackled like the bride to show our respect and support.”
I am surprised and I ask if it will be awkward for them to do this in public. They both look at each other and laugh, “It won’t be to bad for us, we both have spent some time shackled barefoot in front of people,” Emma responds.
After the wedding, Amy will serve her remaining time in prison “After I give birth, I will be in modified solitary confinement, I do not mind and this will allow me to keep my baby with me at all times and will excuse me from work detail since I have to stay in my cell 23 hours a day.”
Later I meet Warden Angela Lank, “Amy is not a special case with special accommodations. The pendulum of female incarceration is swinging to more of a family friendly atmosphere. This is particularly true for our nonviolent criminals. Amy committed white-collar crimes and has a high chance for success for rehabilitation. If we allow her to have a somewhat normal life with the ability to spend time with her husband and have children, then chances are that she will not end up back in prison. This program has shown positive results and has saved the state tens of thousands per year per inmate. After she serves 50% of her time, she will be eligible for release to essentially house arrest.”
I asked how that worked. “Well, a candidate would be released into the custody of a spouse or family member. They will remain permanently shackled since the cuffs have GPS sensors and though it may sound as if they can never leave the house, they actually can leave for pre approved places. Usually, the house arrest extends the sentence since it is an intermediate stage between incarceration and parole. The only difference is the permanent shackles would be on for 10 years in Amy’s case instead of the 2.5 years she would have left in prison at the time of her release. I know it sounds a little extreme but we have not had any inmates turn down such a deal. We also have not yet had an inmate returned for trying to escape and the repeat offender rate is zero.”
Later, back in Amy’s cell, she said, “I feel good about my future. I plan on having another baby while here and if offered the home program, I will jump at the chance. I can be just as good at being a stay at home mom in chains as I could without them.”
End of part 1
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