It's not terribly uncommon to hear of a woman succumbing to the allure of a ruggedly masculine prisoner.
Sometimes, the love bug bites an attorney. Other times, a female guard. Here in California, I regularly hear about female staff members from various professions caught trysting with civilly committed sex offenders at the state hospital.
Every so often, the passion overwhelms all reason, and the woman helps her boyfriend escape. Last year, we heard the odd saga of a deputy warden's wife in Oklahoma who had been living in a trailer with an escaped convict for more than a decade. (Bobbi Parker is back living with her husband while awaiting trial in that case.)
As with everything, psychologists and other professionals have tried to pigeonhole the women's motivations through labeling -- "the Bad Boy Syndrome," "the Florence Nightingale Syndrome," the abuse victim afraid of intimacy. Of course, as with most human conditions, the motivations are more complex and multidetermined than such labels can capture.
Whatever the reasons, the love bug just bit closer to home.
A 35-year-old prison psychologist has been arrested for allegedly helping in the escape of a 42-year-old killer from Frontenac Institution, a minimum-security prison in Canada where she worked.
Authorities believe Erin Danto, a U.S. citizen from Pennsylvania who had worked in the prison for about a year, had a romantic relationship with Andrew John Wood, serving time for the 1989 murder of a former friend. The two were caught together last Thursday.
In a comment to one of the news articles, someone who knows Dr. Danto called her a "true professional."
Dr. Danto's sad story is a reminder for all of us forensic and correctional psychologists. Be compassionate, but not too passionate. Don't forget the “B” word -- boundaries.
Today's (Kingston) Whig Standard has the story.
- European women drawn to Texas death row inmates, by Scott Farwell, Dallas Morning News
- Modern Love: Kept Together by the Bars Between Us, by Amy Friedman, New York Times (an essay by a newspaper columnist who fell in love with a prisoner)
- Women Who Love Men Who Kill, by Sheila Isenberg (book)