Men behind bars...and the women who love them
- 2010/01/14 20:10:57
- Read all 50 opinions
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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