“Captive Angels” Post Personal Ads

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Heather is 28 years old, with light brown hair and pretty blue-gray eyes. She is 5’4" and weighs 125 pounds. She likes motorcycles, fast cars, and crystal meth.

Tasha is a Virgo. She’s warm-hearted, passionate, and sincere. She did make one "bad choice" as a teen, but hopes you will be able to see past that one premeditated murder and love her for who she really is.

These are two of the women who were sued this week by Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon. Nixon sued Tasha and 32 other prisoners, seeking to recover almost $300,000 that they have apparently received from "pen pals" they met through personal ads posted on websites. For those of you who may be interested in corresponding, two of the listed sites are writeaprisoner.com and pamperedprisoner.com. (Who hasn’t asked themselves, "I want to write a prisoner, but I just don’t know where to find the address of a convicted pen pal who’s right for me"? Well, that problem has now been solved.)

The AG points out that it has cost the state about $2.7 million so far to keep the women incarcerated, and a state law allows the government to take prisoner assets to help pay for those costs. "Missouri prisons are intended as institutions to punish criminals and protect society," Nixon said, "not as places of business at taxpayers’ expense." A local defense attorney, on the other hand, said that the ads were legal and doing no harm. He argued that the state should be "encouraging contact with the outside world and [allowing the women to] work[] toward having people to support [them] when [they] get out," rather than taking their money. The article did not say whether this attorney was representing any of the women involved, and given the number of brackets I had to use to make that sentence even close to grammatical, maybe he should not be.

Heather writes, "Hello gentlemen," which is already unlikely, and says she is "in search of a man who can rescue this captive angel. If you want to get to know me," she continues, "I’m just a letter away and looking forward to hearing from you [and sampling your meth]."

Officials said the web sites also carry ads by male inmates, but that they don’t make any money.

Kansas City Star (free registration required)

Thanks to Carole DeWald for spotting this story.