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WriteAPrisoner.com & The Media

I just received an email about a story that came out yesterday in the UK. I don't even remember giving this interview, though I'm sure they didn't make it up: http://www.loughboroughecho.net/views-and-blogs/matt-jarram-column/2008/06/13/prison-love-73871-21069562/ ​

This whole thing with the press has grown very tiresome. Richard Ramirez? C'mon. Yes, there is a very small portion of people who seek out inmates of notoriety for romance. We don't know those people, and they don't know us; however, it seems that we're always sharing the same ink or television time. We tend to focus on the rest of the incarcerated population – the other 99.99999% . Unfortunately, the masses are not as newsworthy.

I do take exception to this statement "He added: "I think it's a bit easier to become involved in correspondence relationships because you have limited interaction. It's someone you care about in small doses." Wow, I seriously doubt that it is context. I believe prison relationships in general are extremely difficult to maintain. Anyone who has ever had someone they love on the inside can tell you that. Outrageous phone bills, hours spent on the road commuting to see the person, loss of human contact. It takes such a toll on both parties. This sounds like the kind of statement I would challenge, not make. Perhaps it was in response to one of those serial killer questions. Either way, I need to be much more careful with what I say to the press. I have always given out interviews like candy at Halloween, and this is a good reminder that anything you say can and will be used against you. I have seen major differences in level of commitment to incarcerated loved ones though. I think this always comes down to the individuals. I have seen a lot of 'in and out of love' instances as a direct result of our website. I also know couples who have been together for seven years who met on our site. Many have come out, gotten married and stayed together. That being said, we're actually promoting friendship, not romance. Romantic relationships are a result of what we do – we connect people. It's simply going to happen, and in many cases, it has turned out to be a wonderful experience.

What harm did this article do? None. In fact, we're receiving a lot of email forwards for inmates on our site today from the UK today as a result of it. I am glad that the media does come to us regardless of their intentions. Without all of the coverage this site has received, it would not be where it is today. The press has been our greatest tool even when their intent is sensationalism. Not every journalist is a Joseph T. Hallinan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who authored the acclaimed work, Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation. He is one journalist who is truly interested in the common man and the common woman who are behind bars, not the pseudo-celebrities other reports like to write about. We love the press, but are most grateful for the truth-seeking journalists like Hallinan and the late Tim Russert who sought to reveal the greater story, if not the most sensational.