I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS). We just had “Sweetest Day” pass by on the calendar, one of those holidays Hallmark has chosen to bless us with.  Guys here have varied ways to express their love for the one or those on the outside they state they love.  The vast majority I think are quite serious.  There is a minority that are “running game”, that is they are writing and/or calling several women at one time saying they love only them to each person, for the purpose of conning the victim out of money, purchases out of catalogs or to reach out to their associates on the streets.  Apparently there are web sites women go on to find these guys.  If you’re wondering, no I have not gotten any such contact.  I have had people contact me through this blog who have offered  money, but I have never accepted.  I usually ask people to promote the blog who want to help. Many have become good friends.  Its not the same as what these guys do.  Some have shown me these letters they get.  In a way, its a full blown virtual relationship complete with affections, arguments, advice and sex.  Many women express the idea they are being conned to the inmate and the inmate expresses fear that the woman is “being unfaithful” in some way.  Even here, the con artist tries to control the female mark.  I know this won’t be popular for me to say, but I can understand the inmate who does this.  Often they have no one, no real relationships, so this is all they are going to get.  The con artist knows no other way to act in a relationship.  It seemed many of the women know what they are getting into.  Would these women know how to act in a real relationship, where they are not abused?  I also know for a fact many of these women aren’t aware they are being played.  They got sucked in by guys who are pros at this.  I hope people write inmates but going in they need boundaries they will stick to and not deviate from them.  The sure mark of a con artist are those who constantly try to find ways to violate your boundaries despite having been asked to respect them.  Obviously, if you do this, please be careful. 

But on another note, guys here who have real relationships with women on the outside will often call on the talented artists to draw pictures of themselves or other artwork to send their loved one, using canteen to pay the artist.  It’s against the rules but its easy to look the other way.  Relationships that survive incarceration are of the strongest and rarest kind.  Mine did not.  For many of us, incarceration exposed the sham of a relationship that existed and it could not survive.  But for those of you that are making it, I take it as a source of inspiration and hope that I too may find that again someday.

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