- Associated Press - Saturday, April 19, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - An inmate has sued the Nebraska prison system, saying a new policy denies him the ability to visit with or write to his wife, who is also incarcerated.

Scott Bonham, 38, filed the lawsuit last week in Lancaster County District Court, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/1lhQLUO ). The lawsuit says that under the policy issued in March, married inmates or those who decide to marry while imprisoned may not visit each other, write each other or go out on furloughs or any type of pass together.

Prison officials say the policy aims to eliminate special privileges and keep married prisoners on their individual paths to rehabilitation.

Bonham said the policy has left him and his wife, Sealess Bonham, depressed.

“I can’t even ask my wife, ‘How was your day? How was your week?’” he told the newspaper.

Bonham’s lawsuit says the policy violates his constitutional rights and seeks to have it changed.

The two married on Dec. 6, two months after both transferred to a work release center in Lincoln. They met years ago and dated off and on before their imprisonment.

Male and female inmates at the center are generally barred from talking to each other, even in passing, spokesman James Foster said.

Inmates are usually allowed to write to immediate family - incarcerated or not - but department’s policy restricts correspondence between inmates to prevent them from planning escapes.

Foster said he wasn’t sure what the center’s rationale is for barring correspondence between the Bonhams.

Bonham is serving three to five years for misuse of a financial transaction device and weapons counts. He is set to be released in September. Sealess Bonham is serving a 10- to 16-year sentence out of Buffalo County on drug charges and will be eligible for parole in July 2015.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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