Men behind bars...and the women who love them

At one time or another, most of us dream of falling in love and marrying that special someone. For some people, that special someone is behind bars

Cable channel Investigation Discovery (one of the Discovery family of channels) starts a new 13-part documentary series, “Prison Wives,” on Valentine’s Day. Through the series, we meet several women and one man who met and later married someone convicted of a serious crime.

Camera crews follow the spouses as they go about their lives on the outside and they are interviewed about their choice of soul mates.

“These are stories of people struggling under difficult circumstances,” said Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of the cable channel. “We want to see what these lives are like. We want to see how they deal with their trials and tribulations.”

A few of them answered questions about their life choices. Latoya Marion has been married 14 years to a guy serving a life sentence for robbery and grand theft auto. Pam Booker has been wed for six year to a man serving a life sentence with no parole for a first- and second-degree murder conviction. Both said their husbands are innocent, though juries and appeal courts disagree.

Tim McDonald, a retired airline pilot, acknowledges his wife was involved in a grisly murder. “She was an accessory to something,” he explained. “She did not kill anybody.”

McDonald wrote to his wife for nine months before they met. At the time, his children were grown and he was separated from his wife. Most family members ended all contact with him after his marriage.

I asked if, perhaps, people who marry people in prison want the status of being married without dealing with the responsibilities and complications of marriage.

“Some spouses will fit that description but that doesn’t apply to most of us,” Booker said. “Generally speaking, this is not an easy life. Maybe there are some with mental health issues or self-esteem issues but it takes a lot to make these marriages work.”

Yes, they say, they know people who watch this series will judge them. “We are judged everyday,” Booker said. “And our children are judged. “Part of the reason we chose to do this series is to lift the veil of shame from these children.” (Fact: One out of every 43 children in the U.S. has a parent behind bars.)

Added Marion: “I just want viewers to see that if you ever have injustice in your life, you can overcome it.”

One thing is certain. You’re not likely to find Valentine’s Day programming like this anywhere else.
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Top Opinion

  • LawMan5150 2010/01/15 00:17:57
    As part of my job I scan mail from prisoners to their "beloved ladies". These men don't love these women, they use them. I will read the most moving dedicated love letter to a girl on the outside devoting their life long dedication to that girl. And then read 5 more to 5 other girls. These men minipulate for a living and they are pro's. They don't care if you put a gun in your mouth if before you do it you put some money on their books. If you women believe these guys you are being sadley manipulated.

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  • Daniel's Girl 2010/02/28 14:46:15 (edited)
    Daniel's Girl
    Life's about choices. We make them everyday. I have known my man for 28 years. We had never been involved other than friends. However, that has changed. We do love each other and are committed to each other. He is finishing up a 5 year term and only has a few months left. Reading some of the post in here I'm amazed at the thoughts by people who have NEVER been in these shoes. I know that I'm not being manipulated. I get letters, phone calls, and visits. I also make sure money is on his account, that his package is sent with what he needs. These things do cost money..and HE has PAID every single cost! Maybe I'm one of a few. I dunno..Judge me if you will.. Think what you like. I will stand by him NOW, 6 months from now, 20 years from now. I'm proud to say I'm Daniel'sGirl.
  • miss gemini 2010/02/19 20:27:43
    miss gemini
    i watched this show and felt like these women were all very naive and lonely. of course these men are going to say they love them their locked up with a bunch of other men.and hjave nothing else to do.wait until they get out then you ll see how much they care.lessons learned.....too sad!
  • mandy 2010/02/04 20:11:05
    Mr Lawman 5150 is totally and completely right. I was just swindled myself two weeks ago. I dedicated myself for 9 months to a man I knew for 19 years. He manipulated and used me. He has been part of the system for 17 years. My whole life is now a mess and im heartbroken. These men donot deserve one good thing. Thats why their called CRIMINALS. I wish their was a way to stop this from happening to another a woman.
  • Grace Dark Horse 2010/01/18 05:53:41
    Grace Dark Horse
    I hope that this show will help you understand that there are good men and women who are in prison, who are worthy to be given love, and are capable of giving love. There are many, such as my husband, who are faithful and loving. Yes, they are in prison, but that does not make them the scum of the earth, although there are some who should never be released. Just like people out here who are not in prison, there are the good and the bad. You can not judge the actions of all by the actions of some. And just because we are married to them, it does not make us scum, crazy, or stupid. We see past what society has taught us, to find love in a very difficult circumstance, but yet, there is undeniable love none the less.
  • AnthonysWifey 2010/01/18 01:19:29
    Iam also another featured wife on this show and why I appercaite your views I can disagree with them , Your opinions are just that your opinions and what you choose to do with your life is also your choice I dont see anyone talking down about mistakes or choices they have made atleast for the most part these men and women can admit their wrong doing and can grow from their mistakes and are very intelligent people and my husband is a funny , intelligent and a awesome father and husband and everyone needs to know that it can happen to you dont be blindsided to think different ...
  • Grace Dark Horse 2010/01/18 00:54:40
    Grace Dark Horse
    I am one of the women that will be featured on the show. I hope that you will watch the show to see that a lot of your preconceived opinions are wrong.
  • justicewaiting 2010/01/18 00:39:54
    Each of these cases are different and each is a case of love, dedication and responsibility. Please check the website that these individual has put up regarding their relationships. www.prisonwivesid.com Thank you
  • mojo 2010/01/17 20:06:26
    Now come on someone has to feel sorry for them all them Bars and they cant get a drink
  • JCD aka "biz" 2010/01/17 12:24:55
    JCD aka "biz"
    "Fact: One out of every 43 children in the US has a parent behind bars". In fact the prison population in the US is HUGE, five to ten times larger than in other Western countries, as a % of the population, of course.
    Many "parents behind bars" would never have been jailed if they lived in one of our countries.
    Why do so many Americans love sending their fellow-citizens to jail, especially if they are Blacks? Is the US judicial/correctional system the modern form of the slavery?
  • Unnamed 2010/01/17 03:06:05
    My mother is an Detention Officer and she tells me stories about the inmates she has.
    Those inmates really don't love these girls" I don't want to see that hoe" that's what some of them say or "That's not my damn baby tell her to leave"! There are so many.It's so foolish because those girls will still come bail them out.They are so foolish
  • justice... Unnamed 2010/01/18 21:28:41
    No one has ever said that there isn't these types of individuals but there are also those that are the exception. This show will introduce you to those and show you that not everyone fits in the neat little packages that you want to place them in. I really do hope that you will watch the show and check out the website www.prisonwivesid.com
  • bev 2010/01/16 19:25:50
    How dumb, pathetic and desperate could anyone be???
  • Hussain 2010/01/16 08:04:29
    sometimes innocents are also put behind bars and it's wistful when they are dumped.
  • Satalite{([Were.not.alone])} 2010/01/16 07:36:16
    well u kno what they say "while the cats away the mice will play"
  • Vernon Justice 2010/01/15 14:06:42
    Vernon Justice
    I would think these poor women need counseling. A man who; robs, and kills, or does anything to get himself in prison is not worth it. If you believe in fairy tales, and One Armed killers, such as in the movies, then you need a full time Psych.
  • Anthony... Vernon ... 2010/01/21 00:34:37
    First of all Im not a "poor Women" quite the opposite actually , My Husband is in prison for murder and I think he is worth everything to me and my family Im not ashamed or disgraced by who Iam married to . Can you say that you have 100% communcation with your siginficant other ? Can you say that your relationship will last when there is no more sexual appeal ? Can you say that You walk proudly of who you are with and that they have never made a mistake in life ? Probally NOT but the difference between me and all that think the way that this poor person does is I CAN SAY ALL THAT AND MORE ABOUT MY HUSBAND ........
  • Vernon ... Anthony... 2010/01/21 18:05:07
    Vernon Justice
    Tony, what put your husband behind bars, murder? Who did he kill? What was he like before he went to jail. I think I may be older than you. I've been married 39 years to the same woman, and I think I have learned a bit about life. Sometimes physcial limitations can be as bad as stel bars.
  • Anthony... Vernon ... 2010/01/21 19:39:13
    I did say he was in for murder didnt I ? If you would like to know the story to who he killed and why please watch the show when it airs . Never once did I say you didnt know about life but do you know about the shoes I walk in ? And yes physical limitations can be just as bad and if that is the case with your family Im sure you find ways to stay a family . This show isnt about who did what or why its about the familys involved right or wrong they love this person and until you walk a mile in their daily lives you have no reason to judge . I dont judge your life as I dont know anything about you or yours so how could you possibly know or say that we need help . Life is about learning as is being a parent you learn from everything . And you are quite bit older then me but it seems that even being younger my knowledge of humainty is more then yours .
  • Vernon ... Anthony... 2010/01/22 02:39:24
    Vernon Justice
    I believe I will watch. But, I still would urge you to find a life on the outside.
  • KKP 2010/01/15 14:03:25
    Who gives a sh*t? Why the f*ck is anyone going as far as to make a show about this? My Pops has been right all along; they don't know what to put on TV anymore.

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Barry Garron

Barry Garron


2009/10/24 00:30:47

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