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‘I'm Only Allowed One Kiss and Hug.’

What can Charles Manson’s fiancee expect? The experience of this inmate’s wife offers some clues.

Name:

Janice Bailey

Age:

58

Where do you live?

Texas

How long have you been with your husband?

5 years

How long is his sentence?

45 years

How much of that sentence has he already served?

17 years

Is this the first time he has been in prison?

Yes.

How did you and your spouse meet?

I am a prison minister, and a Kairos prison chaplain asked me to write to a few inmates.

What was your wedding like?

My son stood in for him as proxy. My daughter-in-law was the witness. We were married by the same minister who introduced us. I wore a cream-colored linen skirt, a cream lace top, and gold shoes. I had a bouquet of flowers and a lace heart-shaped pillow for the rings. We wrote our own vows. We were married in our home. My husband called right after the ceremony.

How often do you visit your spouse?

Twice a month.

How long do you to travel for those visits?

3.5 hours—about 178 miles—each way.

If you could change one thing about those visits, what would it be?

That I could sit next to my husband.

How much money do you spend per month staying in contact with your husband?

Phone: $60, Email: $1.00, Gas: $30, Snacks for visitation: $30, Breakfast and dinner on the way there and back: $20

Do you have kids? What do you tell them about your spouse’s incarceration?

I've told them the truth.

Has he ever spent time in solitary confinement?

Yes, when they switched him from his unit to the hospital and back again. Usually, it's just for the weekend, but one time they forgot about him and he was there for 10 days. I was on the phone with personnel at different units until something was done.

What was that time like for you?

Horrible, I cried when he finally called me. They cut off the phone calls when they are in transit.

Do you and your spouse have access to conjugal visits?

No.

How do you create intimacy in your relationship?

We write sexy letters, we talk sexy to each other, we created a honeymoon journal, and sometimes I send him sexy pictures. The mailroom won’t always allow him to have them, but other times they will.

What do you miss most about your spouse?

Holding him. I'm only allowed one kiss and hug before and after the visit.

Name one thing in your life that's now harder because your spouse is incarcerated:

Finances. I try to send him commissary money in addition to all the other expenses.

What do you want to do the day your husband gets out?

Have a vacation.

How has having an incarcerated spouse impacted your views on the criminal justice system?

I was already a prison minister. I have my master's in applied criminology with a policy emphasis. Yet, after marriage, it became much more personal.

What piece of advice would you give to someone whose spouse is about to go to prison?

Never give up, don't be intimidated, and make it known to your spouse that he has someone on the outside. Otherwise, he can have a rougher time.

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Answers have been edited for length and clarity.