Recently, I did a show with five members of the documentary Prison Wives. One of things I learned during our conversation is that 30 hours of their lives was condensed to 45 minutes. There has been a lot of negative feedback from our community. Many of us have been extremely judgmental, cruel, and mean about the lives of the “prison wives.” I will admit that I was one of them. I felt some of the shows did not show the lifestyle in the best light. There was one show in particular that really rubbed me raw.
While speaking to Jane Bailey, Pam Booker, Tim McDonald, Grace Dark Horse, Juli Cummings, I felt a kinship with them because, quite frankly, I am one of them and though I have hang ups with the term “prison wives” for its slang connotation, I also learned the show could have ended up with another name that would have been much, much worse.
One of the biggest complaints in the prisoner’s wife/partner community is about people judging us and treating us like pariahs, but we in turn do the same to others and more egregiously, to our own kind.
Think about it. If someone were to film 30 hours of your life and cut it down to less than an hour, there are bound to be things left out and misrepresented. This helped me put that episode that bothered me in to context. I’m sure there was a little bit more information I needed to know to understand this woman’s plight, BUT if all things stayed the same, I don’t have the right to speak about how she deals with her life anyway. Who am I?
Bottom line, sometimes we live a double-standard of judgment. It’s never okay to speak ill of anyone’s life when you are not living it. Yes, as a community we deal with the same issues. I’ve heard it described as being in the same boat, but we come to this life through different experiences and backgrounds. We all do the best we can. While I might not chose to deal with certain aspects of this life in the way another woman chooses to deal, it doesn’t mean either one of us is right, wrong, better or less. We are different; different, yet the same.
To learn more about the series Prison Wives, click here.
To listen to the interview on Mrs. GE-6309 Time, click here.
What do you think?