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What does MWI mean? Imagine falling in love with someone knowing the worst thing they’ve ever done. And what if it was bad? Prison bad.
MWI stands for "Met While Incarcerated" and they are couples that have found each other after one person was already behind bars.
The characters in this film are Journey and Ben, and Angela and Michael, who are MWI. Our characters Brenda and Sonny are technically RWI -– Reunited While Incarcerated –but they fell in love and were married when Sonny was in prison.
All of these women are prison wives.
Who are Prison Wives?
Ro is a prison wife rockstar. Co-founder of Strong Prison Wives and Families (SPWF) she’s a publishing executive by day and supporter of the +50,000 network of women by night. Because the stigma is so strong against prison wives, she keeps her identity a secret. Prison wives offer each other unwavering support in secret online groups where they can share their struggles, worries, pain and love, without judgment.
Angela had just seen the film “Dead Man Walking”, based on the true story of Sister Helen Prejean’s work at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Angela wanted to reach out to show support to a death row inmate. She went onto a prison pen pal website and chose Michael.
How do they meet? With nearly 3 million people in prison in North America it’s easier than you think. People with friends or relatives in prison can introduce the couples. Women who work within the justice, social services, or health care system may meet their partner through prison programs. These days the majority of MWI couples meet through a prison pen pal website.
Inmates don’t have access to the Internet so the prisoner submits his pictures and profile through the mail to the website that puts it online. People from around the world are able to scroll through the pages and find someone to write to. Journey was encouraged through her church group to write a Christmas card to an inmate. She chose Ben.
Susan Sarandon as Helen Prejean in "Dead Man Walking"
Prison letters are a treasure trove of stories – filled with both honesty and humour
Written by Lucy Ayrton
Below are stories shared by women who fell in love with men serving time on the inside. Check out the MWI (The Film) Facebook page to see more stories or to add yours to the conversation.
A Love Story – Brenda & Sonny
Brenda and Sonny knew each other as children in Portland, Oregon. Brenda went onto a regular life -- college, marriage and children, while Sonny grew up in prison. Years later, divorced and her kids grown, Brenda tracked Sonny down. He was still behind bars. Neither could forget the first time they met, it was love at first site.