This is Minnesota inmate number 210006, Izell Robinson. And this is part two to my piece, “Married or Dating while Confined: Inmates Need Love Too.”
The love that inmates need is directly connected to them also being able to reciprocate love towards their spouse or significant other in a way that isn’t too restricted by prison policies which often appear to be a barrier that discourages an inmate’s ability to have a successful, loving relationship.
Researcher Christy A. Vasher indicates assuming traditional roles within a family while confined, such as a parent or spouse or significant other, can also aid the inmate’s reentry transition process and has been linked to positive outcomes after release.
Moreover, inmates who are visited more often and more recently had the lowest rates of recidivism in a large study of prison visitation in Florida. The inmates, married or dating, usually expressed strong levels of spirituality and control over their lives which supports facilitating prisoner’s contact with a spouse or significant other while incarcerated through prison visitation, telephone, and mail correspondence, and conjugal visits and home furloughs. Besides, conjugal visits can be seen as one means of maintaining the inmate’s role as husband or wife and potentially influence the functionality of the marital relationship.
Relationships are human necessities and are proven to improve an inmate’s behavior while in prison and after release from prison, therefore regular access to former or existing romantic relationships with people on the outside of prison is necessary for the betterment of society.
The conundrum is restrictive prison policies that discourage inmates’ access to meet potential mates or keep their existing relationships intact. The majorities of prisons in the U.S. do not allow inmates to have internet access which could foster to building of relationships on social media or dating sites, nor are prison phones compatible for inmates to call chat lines that allow access to meet potential mates.
In Sharon Murphy’s article “Dating a Prisoner: what attracts people on the outside to fall in love with a convicted criminals,” she notes that prior to the internet, prison pen pals relied on snail mail. However, in recent years, websites such as meetaprisoner.com, prisonpenfriend.com, and even gayprisoners.net have made it easier for people to connect with potential suitors on the inside.
These potential suitors are among dozens of male and female cons who have solicited assistance from family and friends to post personal profiles and photos on match-making websites with a twist. The twist is that these sites hooking up inmates with citizens on the outside who may not know much about prison or inmates or even what the experience of dating an inmate will take.
Prison Pen Friends say, at Prison Pen Friends, it is our core belief that no one should be alone during hard times. We understand the need for having someone to talk to. And the results of having that support can make all the difference in someone. Studies show family and friends represent the most useful form of support and prisoners transition back to the community.
Something as simple as pen pal relationships can lead to tangible benefits for everyone, but especially those who are incarcerated. Importantly, these sites give inmates a healthy alternative to meet people date and accomplish lockup love stories, leading to marriage or long-term commitment.
Thank you. This has been part two to my piece on “Dating and Married While Confined: Inmates Need Love Too.” Hope you enjoyed it. And we will be back again with parts three and four next week. Thank you.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.