Wives Outside the Walls

So many women contact me each month asking about support groups they can join. There are tons online, I know of several on Cafemom and I imagine that any moms social community would have at least a small group of moms with a jailed loved one.

But WIVES- wives are another story. Women are often thought of a stupid, irrational and dependent if they are married to or have a relationship with a man who is in jail or prison. This is pretty surprising since more than 500,000 marriages in America have endured one spouse or the other serving a jail sentence.

Sadly, wives get little or no rights to their husbands who are incarcerated other than basic communicative and visitation rights and occasionally conjugal visits but that all depends on the state. And that’s about it.
Marrying an inmate was illegal until 1989. Since then slews of inmates search for women who are willing to marry someone who has a long term to serve or may never get out. Getting married doesn't give them any privileges, save conjugal visits in the states their permitted in.

This is from an Ehow article on the rights of prison wives:
No issue arouses more controversy than conjugal visiting rights, which allow inmate and spouse some time together. Only seven states allow the privilege, led by California, New York and Mississippi, whose prison system became the first one to implement the practice in 1918.

Initially, the visits were offered as an incentive for African-Americans to work hard in the cotton fields at the notorious Parchman farm, according to "Conjugal Visitations," a paper presented on the subject. White inmates were eventually allowed the same privileges during the 1940s. Like all other aspects of prison life, conjugal visits are subject to official approval, based on the inmate's behavioral record, demeanor and other factors. Read more here.

Truthfully wives of inmates have no special rights. They cant visit or call any more often than other family or friends. They aren't even afforded a special phone call rate. Calls from correctional facilities are jacked up so incredibly high I cant figure out how this isn't a national scandal by now. It is purely a situation of phone companies raping the innocent bystander just because they want to talk to a person who is jailed.


  1. Anonymous2:55 PM

    I would love this article, if it wasn't titles Prison Wives. I do not identify myself with that title. I am a woman, who is married to a man, that happens to be in prison. I am not married to the prison. On the inside of the walls, a " prison wife" is an inmate that has been turned out, and performs sexual favors to an inmate. My husband and I have a marriage like any other marriage, We are just separated by walls right now. The prison does not define who I am as a person, or who we are as a couple. We have enough stigma and titles given to us by those who dint understand. I refuse to help them.

  2. Well I changed the title! I hope that helps and thanks.

  3. The terrible misnomer of the prison system in administering inflated prices for commissary and phone priviledges is that the inmate is paying the price! In all reality, it is the family that pays the price. Why should families be forced to pay the price for the crimes committed? Isn't locking the person found guilty of the crime up enough? Why make the families pay twice?
    The system takes advantage of this situation monetarily, how is that any different than extortion?!


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