#8 Catfish - Part II
Posing as someone who is not incarcerated would entail a great deal of difficulty for a prisoner. Some would still be willing to do so, were they capable. However, most could not muster the necessary resources, and most would be loath to invest the level of work necessary to maintain such a fiction.
Besides that, there is a very practical reason why it is not really necessary. At one time, contact with the outside world for prisoners was scarce. The average person behind bars, for the most part, was forgotten by everyone, and had no means of reconnecting with old friends, nor making new ones. One or two letters per year, and a card at Christmas, was the norm in the past. Many did not even receive that.
With the advent of pen pal websites for prisoners, those days are long gone. When these sites first came into existence, about 15 years ago, most prisoners were skeptical. They assumed it was a scam, and the sites would take their money, for no result. After all, none of us believed anyone would be interested in corresponding with prisoners. I was one of those who felt that way, and as it turned out, I was totally wrong.
Although I have not been active on pen pal sites for some time now, I spent nearly 10 years with profiles up. In that period of time, I received letters from in excess of 2,000 women. Yes, you read that correctly. This may lead some of you to conclude I must have an extremely high profile case, or that I am extraordinarily handsome. Neither of those things happen to be true. I have an average case, as well as average looks. The rate of response I received was somewhat above the average rate for other prisoners, due to the fact I am somewhat better at writing profiles. But it is not unusually so, and I know of others who have received more responses and attention than I. From what I have seen, there just appears to be a large number of people willing to offer friendship to prisoners, and even to be willing to enter into romance with them.
When a prisoner puts up a profile, even men with horrific crimes, which most would believe would be a complete deterrent to anyone, receive a significant number of responses. One prisoner with whom I am personally acquainted was so crass as to state in his profile, "If you are ugly, fat, or poor, I don't want to hear from you. " Yet in spite of this, women still wrote to him! Regardless of poor social skills, regardless of looks, regardless of age, or any other factor which would come into play in normal social media, anyone in prison with the interest to reach out will hear from someone.
Whatever it is a prisoner seeks from a relationship outside the walls, he can find on a prisoner website. Which is ever so much more simple than attempting to fool people through other means. Such sites may only be loosely monitored, but all will remove any profile if the prisoner is discovered to be using a photo other than his own, or if they are providing false information about why they are incarcerated. Because such information is easy to look up, and most sites have chat forums, those who are lying are quickly discovered, and shut down.
Depending upon the individual, a prisoner may or may not still lie about a good many other things. But it can almost always be relied upon that they are indeed the person in the profile.