DI Thielmann added: "The police and Dartmoor prison recognised we needed to take firmer action and apply the law through the courts."We've had a number of successes in the courts and prisoners have been given additional sentences.Marvin Span has been locked up for three years, his felony case tied up in appeals.Prisons, one of America's largest industries, are worth an estimated billion.Maybe it was only a matter of time before the two paired off."Because if you can befriend Charlie Manson," she says, "if you can say, 'I'm Charlie Manson's girlfriend' - how many women can say that?"Penpal sites make their money by charging inmates (roughly to ) to post their ads and print and forward any responses, or by charging penpals (usually less than ) for inmate addresses.The blitz - codenamed Operation Ladder - comes amid a national surge in the use of illegal phones behind bars.
That doesn't surprise Jennifer Drake, a 17-year Maryland Department of Corrections veteran.
Few US prisoners are allowed access to e-mail or the internet, so most never see their listings.
Some sites boast pages of testimonials: from soon-to-be- released convicts who've found love to death-row inmates who say letter-writing has given them a way to come to peace with dying.
For Sheila Isenberg, author of "Women Who Marry Men Who Kill," it's more about pulp romance and daytime soaps.
Guys behind bars have a lot of time on their hands: to write long letters, to compose love poetry, to perform a lot of the gallant, romantic rituals that modern courtship has largely lost. It's a rollercoaster ride."And they're not the only ones to whom prison looks romantic.