Dating website helps people connect with prisoners
It is often said that “there is someone for everyone.”
In this digital age of online dating, there are countless niche websites and apps promising to help you find that perfect person.
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There are even websites for people looking to find love behind bars.
One of them is Loveaprisoner.com which calls itself a pen-pal service with a mission to give inmates a sense of hopefulness by connecting them to people in the outside world.
Channel 3 checked and there are profiles for eight inmates in Georgia and 16 in Tennessee listed on the website.
They include pictures, bios, likes, dislikes, what the inmate is serving time for and their date of release.
Joe Smith is the Executive Director of Prison Prevention Ministries of Chattanooga.
The organization serves inmates by offering hope to prevent them from returning to prison once they are released. PPM’s mission is to invest in the lives of inmates by providing Bible-based, life-skill seminars in institutions.
“All of us have a fundamental need to have other people in our lives. A lot of these inmates have burned so many bridges with friends and family members. There are a lot of those guys and women too that don’t have anybody on the outside so that’s sad. Relationships are vitally important,” said Smith.
Smith, however, cautions people looking to form a new relationship with someone behind bars who they’ve never met.
"That's a little bit concerning, more for the person probably on the outside than the person on the inside. If that person on the outside has to go to an inmate to have a relationship then that's a real red flag to me so it's a little bit scary,” said Smith.
Channel 3 reached out to the Tennessee Department of Correction and were told inmates are not allowed to use the internet. At some facilities, offenders have the option to buy an educational tablet which can be loaded with learning modules, music and a monitored email program.
A spokesperson for the department said inmates often have friends or family members upload and maintain a social media presence on behalf of the offender.
According to Loveaprisoner.com, recidivism is reduced when an ex-offender has support from family and friends to return to after incarceration. The website claims to have a 75% compatibility rating for those looking to find their soul mate.