I interview all of my clients. During these interviews, I must try to gain an accurate picture of the many details that led up to their incarceration. That’s actually one of the most essential duties I have as a parole lawyer. Sometimes, the path to prison is a relatively simple explanation. In other cases, it can be very complicated and multifaceted. Unfortunately, I have seen many cases in which the person incarcerated is sitting in prison partially, or in some cases, completely as a direct result of the affirmative steps taken by an angry partner, spouse, or ex spouse.
It’s a well known fact that approximately 90% of all Texas prisoners are male. Although I frequently have female clients, over 80% of my clients are male. During inmate interviews, I get to hear many relationship horror stories where a guy went off to prison in large part because his angry girlfriend, wife, or ex-wife made sure of it. Hence, the title of this post.
There are many variations of the story, but I seem to hear a few common themes. Here are the most common, in no particular order.
The guy who is on probation and is doing stuff that, if known by the probation officer, might result in a revocation of said probation. This guy has a girlfriend or spouse who, despite his illegal or improper behavior, chooses to stick around and capitalize on the situation by using the guy’s probation as leverage to gain the upper hand in the relationship. She thinks that he will do whatever she wants him to do, because if he doesn’t, she’ll make sure the probation officer or the police are given all the information needed to arrest the man she purports to care so much about.
The power imbalance in the relationship from the above blackmail breeds an enormous amount of resentment in the guy. Eventually, he stops taking her threats seriously or he just doesn’t do as he is ordered, and as she sees her power slipping away, she finally makes good on her threats and brings him down.
A man is on probation and he is not doing stuff that would result in the revocation of his probation. Nonetheless, his status as a probationee still makes him vulnerable to a partner with a dark side. When he fails to obey such a woman or live up to her expectations, she makes up a story or gets him arrested for allegedly making deadly threats or allegedly striking her. This woman may have to work a little harder to get her man locked up, but she finds a way.
A man on probation complies with his probation, but he cheats on his partner. She places drugs in his car or pockets and calls the police. He’s going down for sure.
A man is involved in an unhealthy relationship. He and his partner abuse drugs or alcohol, or both. During a late night fight over something stupid, they are both intoxicated, and he ends up hitting or pushing her. Often, he was struck first, but that rarely matters to the police, who are summoned by either the woman or the angry neighbors. The police see that he has a record, ergo, he’s going to jail. Then, regardless of whether she even wants to see him prosecuted, he’s prosecuted. Prosecutors love to grab at the lowest hanging fruit. Nothing is easier than seeking convictions against a person with a prior criminal history.
Anyone on probation or parole would be wise to choose their partner very carefully. The potential for incarceration is never far away when a man’s partner has the potential to drastically undermine his future so easily.