How did you two meet?
I was with his brother at the time. Weird, I know, but his brother wanted me to start writing him so I did. I am a firm believer in "you can’t help who you fall in love with", I just happened to fall in love with someone who is incarcerated! That is the way I see it, at least.
Why would you even marry that type of person?
Honestly, I was NOT looking for a husband at all. I have never been one to go out and look for a man, let alone one to marry. When I first wrote to him, it was just with the intention of making someone’s day because I know they get lonely in there, but it just blossomed into something more than that.
I think anyone who marries an inmate has their own reasons. I did not welcome him into my life with the intention of marrying him, at all. In fact, when I first was asked to write to him, I really did not want to. But when you finally meet an inmate, (a good one, at least. some belong right where they are) you come to this realization that they are human beings that make mistakes, some mistakes just have severe consequences. My husband always says, “ANYONE can go to prison” and as stupid as that sounds (like, duh) its true. My mom used to lecture me about being with a man in prison, and now her boyfriend is doing jail time for the first time, and now she gets it.
What did you see in him that made you fall in love with him so hard?
There was something about him that I did not see in other men that I’ve been with. For starters, the prison system humbled him a lot. I did not know him when he was free, but I have heard a lot of stories from his mom, his brother, and him. He used to be very cocky, too cocky, which is why he is where he is. He is also everything I have been looking for in a man, except the prison thing, of course. He is very sensitive, he would cry to me on numerous occasions during visit, telling me how much he wants to be out in freedom with me, and how he wishes he could do so much more to me because he feels that I deserve the best. I could see it in his eyes that he loves me more and more with every visit we would have, and trust me, there is no better feeling in life knowing that there is someone out there that you love that loves you back, incarcerated or not.
How was your dating life before this?
It was pretty normal, I have dated some assholes, but I have dated some really great guys, they just were not what I was looking for.
Why is he incarcerated?
9 counts of armed robbery.
Who did he rob?
He robbed a lot of businesses near where he lived, such as grocery stores, restaurants, Circle Ks, places like that.
Was anyone hurt?
No, no one was ever hurt, he never shot anyone, he only pulled a gun on people when he felt that he “had to”. I know that is pretty sick to say, but for example, he robbed a grocery store once and the manager was blocking the entrance with the carts so he could not get out, so he pulled a gun on him but never shot, he just had to leave. If he hadn’t, the manager wouldn’t have let him out and he would have been caught.
How long is his sentence?
We met while he was incarcerated for 4 years and he has about 10 left.
What kind of prison is he in?
He is in a medium security.
What made him turn to robbery?
Well, he has always had a job since he was legally allowed to, and he constantly moved his way up to full time jobs that paid really well. Not bad for someone who did not have a diploma/GED at the time, in my area it is at least. When he first started doing the robberies, he had his job in construction and was making very good money, but he got laid off and he had a lot of bills to pay, including rent, not to mention a girlfriend that he fully financially supported. To make a long story short, he was desperate for money for the bills, and after he did it the first or second time, he realized how easy it was, so he continued to do it. He was not caught for several months, so he felt, in his mind, that he could get away with it for a long time.
You said you’re a ‘wife’, how did you get married?
The prison conducted the wedding with a justice of peace.
How often do you get to visit him
I see him every weekend, 8 hours one day, 4 hours the other. My husband and I are quite different from other couples in there, we get away with quite a lot. We talk mostly, joke around with each other, kiss, eat food from the vending machines in there, and have sex every now and then.
How do you have sex? Do they allow conjugal visits?
No, there are no conjugal visits allowed.
There is an indoor and outdoor visitation area. The Correctional Officers will do walk arounds in both areas until about noon, I’ve noticed is when they stopped. We usually do it at that time in the outside area because the correctional officers go in the strip search room to check the inmates whose visits end at noon, which takes them awhile. My husband asks one of his friends to “keep point” or keep a look out for the cops and children too, and we just do it against this wall that is not visible to the inside area or cameras. Obviously it does not take long, so it is pretty easy to get away with. Its pretty sad how easy it is, honestly.
How supportive, in your eyes, is the prison system to spouses? Especially spouses that marry during sentences?
Not at all, really. Not only with spouses, but with families too. I talk to a lot of moms and other wives and siblings about how we are treated, and we are probably treated just as bad as the inmates at times. With spouses that marry during a sentence, they are pretty unsupportive from the moment your inmate submits a marriage request. You have to go through “counseling” where the prison chaplain pretty much tries to convince you not to get married, it is pretty sad.
Have you ever consider leaving him?
That is one of the things about him, I have NEVER lost interest. Being with an inmate definitely keeps things interesting, believe me! I have never considered leaving him, I am in for the long haul. I feel that I will be with him the whole time. I am not like other women, I am very dedicated to a man once I am with one. He did not think I would last as long as I have, but now he knows I will not leave, either, which is why he had decided to marry me. I would rather be with a man who is incarcerated and know for a fact that he loves me, than be with a man on the street where I have to question their love for me everyday.
How do your friends and family feel?
My friends absolutely love him and my parents weren’t keen on the idea at first, I feel like they thought it was a phase, but now its been a few years so they’re warming up, and they see how happy I am.
Where’s your father?
He lives like 20 minutes away from me. He loves him.
Where was he when you were growing up?
I lived with my dad full time from the age of 14 to 18, he is in the military, so he is a smart man and has never been one to hide his feelings about the guys I have dated, but he has told me he really does like him.
Do you worry since he is in jail that he might be violent or hurt you?
No, I really don’t. I know him pretty well despite the circumstances, and he is has not been violent or has shown signs of being violent with me, he is actually a big teddy bear.
Do you and your husband feel bad for the families’ lives you’ve possibly ruined? Or the PTSD the robberies may have given the victims?
As someone who is very passionate for the justice system, I do feel bad for them and I wish I knew who they were so I could reach out to them and apologize on his behalf, and I would be sure to let them know that he is definitely paying for it now. On the other hand, when he got his sentencing and whatnot, none of his witnesses showed up, and witnesses usually do that to provide closure for themselves, so I found that rather odd.
Do you think your husband belongs in jail?
Yes, he does belong where he is. What makes him a “good” inmate is that he knows that. He has never once said, “I do not belong here”. In fact, he has made it clear that he belongs right where he is at. He just wants to do his time, and get the hell out of here. Also, at his sentencing, he did no say “I’m sorry for what I did”. He said, “I know what I did was wrong, and I apologize to all the victims and families that I have hurt during this process”. I know that sounds odd, and you may be wondering, how does that make a difference? But I have learned that usually when people say sorry, they do not really mean it. And rarely do criminals say, “I know what I did is wrong”. Aside from that, he has been in for about 5 years and has had no charges within there, and it is VERY easy to get charges in there with how rude the cops can be, and he managed to get his GED as well, he is also on very good terms with the Correctional Officers and the Deputy Warden, they all say he is a good person, they have told me themselves.