March 2009

From Inmate to Soul Mate

Women Behind Bars, a pen pal site that helps female prisoners find love in the outside world, puts suitors in touch with a unique group of bachelorettes.

Women Behind Bars
Photo courtesy of Women Behind Bars
PHOTO GALLERY: Since 1997, more than 38 couples have married after meeting through prison pen pal site Women Behind Bars.


Page 2 of 2 -- Most men in their introductory letter describe themselves, their background and their life goals, according to Muffoletto. He has found the ladies do respond to the majority of notes they receive.

Muffoletto acknowledged that some daters are wary of his site.

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“It’s sort of different than meeting someone at a bar because let’s face it, where they’re at is where they’re at,” Muffoletto said. “But a lot of times, you can meet some distasteful people at a bar, too. I’m not saying the people on my site are distasteful.”

Muffoletto cautions his clients to be on guard for financial scamming by the women, but he added that such problems are “minimal.”

“I’ve let everybody on my Web site know not to give them money,” he said. “It’s all on the Web site as far as warnings go.”

Typically, men order the addresses of 20 to 30 ladies. Yet with the recent economic downtown, Muffoletto said, customers are only buying contact information for five or six women.

Kami Owens, a 43-year-old stout blonde, wrote that she really appreciates that Women Behind Bars is free for incarcerated women. Yet, the Valley State Prison inmate feels more promotion needs to be done for the site inside the prisons.

“I think the fact that we just have word of mouth in here, it could be improved with fliers or cards,” said Owens.

Another problem is that contact information on the site is not always up to date.

The address for Michelle Kesler listed her as being at the Corona prison facility. In fact, Kesler is in Arbor Springs, California, and is currently serving out her sentence as an inmate firefighter and mechanic.

While her Women Behind Bars profile still claims she is “looking for a friend, possibly a relationship” and dreaming of marriage, Kesler stated she is not the same person who posted that ad such a long time back.

“My life is finally heading in the right direction, and a relationship is the last thing I need,” the middle-aged brunette wrote. “I plan on staying single for at least two years after my release.”

Women Behind Bars is not Muffoletto’s only job. He also runs computer repair and Web design businesses.

“I’m not really making much on it at all,” said Muffoletto of his prison pen pal site. “It’s not a livable wage, below poverty level really. I make enough to keep it running, what it amounts to.”

Yet Muffoletto is committed to keep the site working the best he can in his spare time. Despite having never written to any of the ladies on his site, Muffoletto is proud to be providing a service he feels gives hope to others.

“A lot of people think once you go to jail or prison, that’s it,” he said. “You have no contact with the outside world. What better way to get rehabbed and keep talking with people on the outside and mostly sustain some hope to get out?”



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Produced, reported and designed by Jenn Rubin. Flash photo slideshow templates by FlashMo.com. Major additional content courtesy of Timothy Lampa of MatchingSox.com, Dawn Graham and Patrick Lowery and Todd Muffoletto of Women Behind Bars.
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