Cavendish believes it to be a highly complex issue and agrees that major factors to consider are dependency and control; “Dependence works both ways - financial for many prisoners, particularly those who don't have family ties, as well as emotional.” With regards to the type of women who write to prisoners; “I'll be honest and say that a fair few of the female correspondents are lonely women who often have body-image concerns (many of those whose photos I've seen tend to be overweight.) They feel perhaps that a prisoner is likely to be less judgmental and more appreciative of any support - emotional and/or financial.” For these women, connecting with a man who is locked up for the majority of the day with little else to occupy his time, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the inmate has no choice but to remain faithful.However as Cavendish observes, prisoners can benefit fiscally from these courtships; “I’ve known male inmates who have several pen pals, and they live a very comfortable life inside on the regular postal orders or cheques that get sent in.Not so for the increasing number of ladies who write to strangers in prison.Prior to the internet, prison pen pals relied on snail mail.When looking for a partner, the majority of women cite good sense of humour as an essential requirement.And in the shark infested world of online dating, we assume their only experience of porridge to be the kind found on the breakfast table.“He wasn’t a direct client, but I recalled him living on the same estate where I grew up. I think at first he genuinely wanted someone to talk to, and as the letters progressed they did become more sexual...
However, if the inmate has been convicted of domestic violence, a sexual offence or stalking/harassment, then all letters are supposed to be read.” a report released only this year on population in UK prison Most of us struggle to identify with the type of woman who would actively search for a partner in prison.
I thought to myself, he's probably got so many women writing to him, he'll throw it away because it doesn't mean a thing.
And I'll go on being a lost soul." On the other side of the pond, psychopathic mass murderer Charles Manson recently called off the wedding to his pen pal, Afton-Elaine Burton after discovering that she was secretly ordering a glass coffin for her intended, with a view to charging spectators after his death.
However in recent years, the advent of websites such as Meeta Prisoner.com, Inmatesfor You.com, and even Gay have made it easier for people to connect with potential suitors on the inside.
Whilst prevalent in the States, each facility differs as to what they allow or disallow, but the general rule is that anything being sent to or from an inmate goes through a screening process.