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TCA press tour: Unlocking the tales of 'Prison Wives'

January 14, 2010 |  5:52 pm
Latoya There are Stepford Wives. Trophy Wives. How about Prison Wives?

Investigation Discovery’s “Prison Wives” is a 13-part docu-series -- premiering Feb. 14 -- that gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of women (and a man) who have found love with people in prison. Each episode chronicles the daily life of the spouse living outside of prison and explores the dynamics the couple face in trying to maintain their relationship.

And each couple’s story is different: from Latoya Marion, married to Cornelius Marion, who is two decades into serving a life sentence without parole for armed robbery and grand theft auto, to Tim McDonald, a retired airline captain married to Deion Harris, who is serving a life sentence without parole for felony murder.

So why, given the circumstances, would they risk being judged by television viewers across the country?

“We are judged,” McDonald said. “Of course we are judged. We are judged as clearly as our spouses were judged, and we go through it every day. … We accept that. “

Networks under the Discovery umbrella aren’t new to documenting the unusual and extraordinary lives of people — just look at TLC on any given night.  But president and general manager of Investigation Discovery Henry Schleiff was quick to point out that the series isn’t trying to chronicle the bizarre for the sake of viewership.

“They’re not car accidents,” Schleiff said. “These are stories of people truly struggling under very difficult circumstances to maintain a relationship. … I think that interesting; I think that’s an aspect worth exploring. I think it’s a valuable part of exposing our audience to the justice system.”

--Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Latoya Marion does research at the Law Library to learn about how she can fight her husband's case. Credit: Investigation Discovery.