Headline English

Prison love

24. 11. 2014

A 26-year-old woman is due to marry an 80-year-old killer. To boot (1), the killer is bound to spend the rest of his days in prison. Why would anybody want to marry him?

The woman had long ago moved from far away to be able to live close to Mason’s prison in California to visit him. She uses the name Star and runs a couple of websites advocating Mason’s innocence.

Apparently the couple are just waiting for the authorities to finish the paperwork. In fact, Star, told journalists that they would have married already, had Mason not violated some of the prison rules, preventing him from marriage.

The penal system in California uses marriage as a tool for family reunification and social development. Normally, marriage entitles (2) the married convict (3) to conjugal visits (long unsupervised visits by the spouse where the convict and the visitor may engage in sex) However, as a mass murderer, Mason is not entitled to these visits.

So what are the reasons for Star to marry him? There have been allegations that it is all just a show for the public (an interpretation Manson himself helped to support in a magazine interview).

Star claims her motivation to be different. “There’s certain things next of kin (4) can do,” she said. She hopes to have Mason’s case re-examined by the court.

Even if Manson is never let out, perhaps emotional love might make the remainder of his existence more humane and even help him to understand what he did to his victims half a century ago.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/nov/17/mass-murderer-charles-manson-obtains-marriage-license

Questions

  1. According to the article, has the marriage between Star and Mason already been approved by the authorities?
  2. According to the article, is Star’s relationship to Mason a new one?
  3. What are ‘conjugal visits’ (4th paragraph)?
  4. What reasons for Star to marry Mason does the article mention?
  5. Does the article see the marriage between Star and Mason as a good thing?
  6. Do you think prisoners should be able to get married?
  7. What is your opinion on marriage? Do you think it is still important as a social institution?

Vocabulary

to boot (1) – as well, also, too, besides, into the bargain, in addition, additionally, on top (of that), over and above that, what’s more, moreover, furthermore

entitle (2) – to give someone the official right to do or have something

convict (3) – someone who has been proven to be guilty of a crime and sent to prison

next of kin (4) – a person’s next-of-kin (NOK) is that person’s closest living relative or relatives

 

You can find additional explanation and more examples to help you understand and use English words and phrases at https://dictionary.reference.com, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/, https://www.merriam-webster.com/ or https://www.ldoceonline.com/

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