A new television production called Prisoner of Love views the U.S. prison population through the lens of reality TV love connections.
“There’s a stigma most people have about those in prison, but most of them are trying to better their lives,” said Holmes. “…We all make mistakes, and we all deserve a second chance at finding love.”
When people get arrested and go to prison, their family, friends and any other personal connections may move on before they get released.
Noting that incarcerated persons who maintain relationships have lower recidivism rates than those who don’t, Holmes said she takes that into consideration when she matches couples.
“You may go in with thousands of friends, but you come out and those people have forgotten you,” she said. “…A lot of people immediately think that just because someone’s in prison they don’t deserve happiness.”
Holmes found her passion for helping the incarcerated in college. She said a professor encouraged her to begin “thinking outside the box, and meeting people you wouldn’t normally meet.”
“I had previously volunteered with a wrongful conviction organization, and I thought it would be great to start a pen pal program with prisoners,” said Holmes. “… before I knew it, I was offering to match people.”
Prisoner of Love’s first season follows five couples as they navigate love through bars, walls—and the internet.
Skeptics may feel this show is another 90 Day Fiance or Love After Lockup, however Holmes told Newsbreak.com she considers it more of a Prison Tinder.
In the spirit of reality TV, high drama and scandalous behavior ensues between most of the couples.
A New York college student named Isa and incarcerated Devin give it a whirl. Devin claims he was just in the car when the crime was committed.
Isa has her doubts about the goals Devin claims to have upon release. She still can hardly believe she’s dating a prisoner, but her heart is in it, according to a recent Decider review.
The show isn’t just about single free females finding male prisoners. There are also free single men looking for love with incarcerated women.
Brey, a friend of Holmes’s son, let her find him a match. Brey’s father Dexter’s first reaction was strongly negative.
This was before Dexter went to Holmes’s house to see her book of prison matches. He’s now on the show and talking with Yolanda.
Aluntra and her now-fiancé Bryce found each other almost four years earlier. When Bryce is released, they have big plans including marriage. But will his past and family keep these two from their happily ever after?
Holmes herself has been talking to and dating Manuel. She told Newsbreak her first thoughts were “[I] thought he was cute and through his introduction, I could tell he was smart.”
Whether as a matchmaker, pen pal or reality TV celebrity, Holmes said she’s committed to continuing her mission.
“This is my life,” she said. “I would be doing it with or without the cameras anyway, so why not invite y’all in to watch me make some love connections along the way?”