As Seen On TV

As Seen On TV

As Seen On TV: Fifteen Minutes of Shame and the Effects on the Prisoner’s Wife/Partner

Turn on any television to see the scope of our criminal justice system – caught on tape, from the suspicion of arrest, through the question of the trial, to the reality of incarceration. Entire networks are devoted to this ultimate reality show. Viewers have a choice of seeing criminals locked up, locked down, arrested in the first forty-eight hours, DNA tested, almost getting away with it, and though rare–released. America has a twisted fascination with those who commit crimes and end up behind bars. Audiences chant the criminal’s anthem: Bad boy what you gonna do when they come for you?

Prisoners are put under the glare of a producer’s camera and subjectivity of the editor’s cut and thus a new reality is born. Alongside the four ‘R’s of incarceration, restitution, retribution, rehabilitation and redemption, our voyeuristic world has added a fifth and more dangerous ‘R’- ratings.

Criminal justice that serves as amusement for ratings sake is big business that comes with too high of a price tag; a price that robs society of its sensibility, sense of humanity, and objectivity; and a price that slowly erodes the presumption of innocence. Accusations are truth. Perception becomes reality. Even when a person prevails in the criminal justice system, ‘not guilty’ is quickly redefined as ‘not innocent.’ The images fed to the world are the worst of the worst. These images are cleverly ingrained in our subconscious minds, attaching to our sense of not-giving-a-damn while turning up the volume on fear. Women whose partners are in prison must contend with society’s negative response to their circumstances. It’s a society filtering its reaction through what has now become a true representation of men behind bars. Criminal justice that serves as amusement for ratings sake has successfully influenced our society—all men in prison are bad. Herein lies the problem for the prisoner’s wife/partner.




What obstacles do prisoners’ wives/partners face in terms of how we are viewed by society?

  1. KellyKelly12-07-2011

    Sad but true. No one ever understands unless they have been in our shoes – or theirs. I believe if the public really knew anything about our justice system or jail system prison system there would be a big stirring in our society. Instead, most of society thinks they are “safe” because the criminals are behind bars. Thanks to you and others those of u s that are out here waiting and holding on to our mates find support and strength.

  2. Annette RuizAnnette Ruiz12-07-2011

    I believe that most people figure because we love a convict we have issues. What I have learned is prison wives/ partners are the most strongest and intelligent groups of people. I watch some of the TV shows and they make not only our loved ones out to be horrible but make us seem like we have NOTHING not even a brain. I really wish more people would take the time to dig deeper into a situation before make such bold accusations. Some day I am going to get a chance to speak out about A LOT of mistakes the justice system has made. I just have to hold out a little bit longer. The REALITY in REALITY TV is truly not reality. It’s make believe for MONEY. I’m sure if we really showed America what their justice system is really all about, REALITY just might sink in and there would be more of our beloved PD/Sheriffs/Judges in prison then the so called “BAD BOYS”… #justsayin

  3. LaDonnaLaDonna12-08-2011

    This is so true and unfortunately until they are in our shoes they don’t understand or care. I don’t know what ever happened to showing compassion for our fellow human beings. Yes sometimes good people do bad things and they need to be punished but there is so much more to it than that. Those “criminals” have families and loved ones who don’t deserve to be punished. Those “criminals” deserve a 2nd chance if earned and why as society are we so quick to judge others without knowing the whole story. I’m not making excuses or saying it makes the crime any less wrong but if society would take the time to see all of the circumstances surrounding the situation and what provoked that person to commit the crime in the first place, they’d see it’s not so black and white. And again, what happened to showing compassion towards others? I’d want someone to show me compassion. And our so called justice system is the biggest joke. There is no justice in the system when it’s all about politics and money.

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Living your life when your partner is locked up means knowing what you can and can not control and making the most of it.

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