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Why women fall in love with men in jail for terrible crimes

Some girls discover love on-line — whereas others deal with those that have been in a lineup.

Bloomberg reporter Christie Smythe made headlines in December when she revealed she had give up her job and divorced her husband after falling in love with reviled Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli, arrested for securities fraud in 2015. Smythe insisted that her beau was simply misunderstood. (This got here after he had been dubbed “the most hated man in America” for value gouging a drug for individuals with HIV.)

Weird although the story was, Smythe has loads of firm. For each incarcerated man, it appears, there’s a girl serious about being his pen pal — or extra. 

Christie Smythe, a former journalist who helped break the story of white collar criminal Martin Shkreli, is now romantically involved with him as he serves the rest of his federal prison sentence for fraud.
Christie Smythe (left), a former journalist who helped break the story of white collar felony Martin Shkreli (proper), turned romantically concerned with him whereas he served a federal jail sentence for fraud.
twitter.com, Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Photos

It’s a pattern explored within the guide “Love Lockdown: Dating, Sex, and Marriage in America’s Prisons” (Gallery Books) by Elizabeth Greenwood. 

Greenwood determined to start out researching jail marriages after her personal in depth correspondence with jailed white-collar criminal Samuel Israel III, at present serving a 22-year sentence in a Butner, NC, federal jail for mail fraud and investment-adviser fraud.

“Love Lockdown: Dating, Sex, and Marriage in America’s Prisons” (Gallery Books) by Elizabeth Greenwood
“Love Lockdown: Relationship, Intercourse, and Marriage in America’s Prisons” (Gallery Books) by Elizabeth Greenwood

Israel had faked his demise by staging a suicidal plunge off the Bear Mountain Bridge in upstate New York in June 2008. He turned himself in to the feds three weeks later, and Greenwood reached out to him whereas researching her first guide, “Enjoying Useless,” about individuals who faux their very own deaths or disappearances. They’ve stayed in contact for seven years, corresponding often, though they’ve by no means met.

“All through the half-dozen years I’ve identified Sam, he has gone from my topic to my stalker to my pal,” she writes, noting that the correspondence helped her perceive the “laserlike consideration” an inmate — with little to do — can “lavish on a woman.”

For her newest guide, Greenwood adopted the lives of 5 {couples} who met whereas considered one of them was incarcerated — colloquially identified in prison-relationship circles as “MWI” — within the US jail system.

“To the jail wives who’ve lengthy histories with their males, MWI girls are seen as pathetic losers or, worse but, jail groupies,” writes Greenwood.

However what she discovered have been relationships that have been at instances romantic, messy, sophisticated and generally heartbreaking — in different phrases, not too not like these in the actual world. 

Jo and Benny met on a prison pen-pal site.
Jo and Benny Reed, who met on a jail pen-pal website, on their marriage ceremony day.

One couple consists of Jo, an ex-Military medic who had labored as a jail guard at a Kansas Metropolis jail, and Benny Reed, who was serving a 10-year sentence within the most safety Oregon State Penitentiary for the tried homicide of his then-girlfriend.

The pair met on a jail pen-pal website. Jo knew the stigma of associating with a felon, however it didn’t deter her. In restoration herself from an dependancy to ache drugs, Jo credited Benny with “making me the very best model of myself.” 

“I believe these girls are typically very nurturing. They’ve a way of desirous to be caring for another person, and males in jail, for apparent causes, are fairly needy.” 

Dr. Fred Berlin, director of the Johns Hopkins Intercourse and Gender Clinic, as informed to creator Elizabeth Greenwood

The pair even received married on the jail — he saved up from his $1.81-an-hour jail name middle job to purchase her a hoop off Etsy — however the relationship ended abruptly when Benny discovered different companions on-line. 

Simply why do girls fall for imprisoned males?

In keeping with Dr. Fred Berlin, director of the Johns Hopkins Intercourse and Gender Clinic, there tends to be “this trait of intense mothering in jail wives,” writes Greenwood. “I believe these girls are typically very nurturing. They’ve a way of desirous to be caring for another person, and males in jail, for apparent causes, are fairly needy.” 

However not each jail spouse goes right into a pen-pal relationship searching for love.

Sheila Rule, a longtime international correspondent for the New York Instances, met Joe Robinson whereas doing volunteer work for a jail ministry.

She was corresponding with greater than a dozen inmates when a “compelling” letter got here from Robinson, an East New York native serving 25 years for homicide.

Sheila Rule and Joe Robinson, married in 2005. Joe was released in 2016 from a 25 year prison sentence for killing a man.
Sheila Rule and Joe Robinson married in 2005. Joe was launched in 2016 from a 25-year jail sentence for homicide.
Ed Kashi Pictures

As a pen pal, he was searching for a “younger woman,” and Rule, who had been married twice, was in her 50s, 20 years his senior. She let him down and flat-out informed him that she couldn’t be his companion, however may very well be his pal.

For a 12 months, the 2 exchanged letters that have been deeply susceptible however by no means flirtatious. In 2003, he satisfied her to go to him in individual, the place the connection switched from friendship to romance, they usually wed in 2005. They’ve now been married 15 years, 12 of which Robinson was in jail. She says the wedding is completely happy and acquainted, “like an outdated shoe.”

Nonetheless, Rule initially informed few individuals in regards to the relationship.

When she determined to inform a pal she thought was progressive, the pal requested how she may very well be with somebody charged with homicide. 

“I’m not marrying Joe’s previous,” she informed the pal. “I’m marrying the individual he’s grow to be.”

https://nypost.com/2021/08/03/why-women-fall-in-love-with-men-in-jail-for-terrible-crimes/ | Why girls fall in love with males in jail for horrible crimes

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