Annika and Anthony
Who has the right to judge what another couple love is or how strong their marriage is?In my opinion NO ONE does. You love who you love and you marry who makes you happy at that moment in your life.
Mine and Anthony's journey together started 3 years ago and even though I haven't been with him his whole time incarcerated I feel as though I have taken this ride with him. Anthony has been incarcerated for almost 15 years this July. He has had to grow up and become a man behind bars. The worst place to be learn how to love someone, but that is only been a myth when it comes to him. He, in my eyes, has overcome that obstacle in every way. He knows how to love, to cherish, and to be respectful of my feelings and those around him.
He does, in spite of others feelings of him, know the difference between right and wrong. He just made a mistake for the love he had for his ex-wife and his love for the drugs he was on. He has changed, from the boy he was when he went in to prison as, to the man he is now. If he was that same person we wouldn't be together or taking this life journey together.
There isn't anything I wouldnt do for my husband, which is how a wife should be for her husband. So how does that make me any different then you All in the free world ?? It doesn't, we all love and cherish our spouses the same, till death do us part!
When we both agreed to do the show I had no idea what it was going to do for my life or Anthonys but at this point nothing could hurt us as a couple.
I bared myself to the camera just as these other wives and husband did to show the world we are the same but we are also the Forgotten Familys, already condemmed because of who we are married to and love.
Since I started this journey, me as a person, have changed so much. What I cherished has changed, I take nothing for granted anymore, where before I took everything for granted thinking it would always be there. The love I have for Anthony has also grown everyday, sure there are days where he drives me crazy and there are days where I drive him crazy (almost always) but I can't imagine my world without him in it .
I was married for 11 years before and though we married young, at least, I did, it wasn't a marriage based on love and understanding. It was a marriage based on the fact that I had his child at 15 years young and we were comfortable and knew each other. That in itself is a sad life and not a marriage to have or brag about. I do have 3 wonderful children from my ex that are my world since day 1. My ex hasn't seen his children in over 4 years and has barely said hello in that time BUT Kianna ,Clint, Brooklyn will all tell you that Anthony is their DAD. He thinks he isn't a good role model for the kids because he is in prison but everyone makes mistakes and he is involved with every aspect of their lives, I don't think that half the fathers out on the streets are as involved with their children's lives.
Well ,let's talk about "Prison Life" in Oregon HAHA, it's a joke. I think the justice system everywhere is one. We go on a point system here if you run out of points, OH Well you dont visit anymore till the next month. You have a dress code No Blue (like the prisoners), no form fitting, no camoflauge, and everything is based on who is working the visiting desk that day. It doesn't go by rules, it's whether the person working likes you or the person your visting. A child cannot sit on a dad's lap after a certain age apparently
at that age a child stops wanting the comfort of their dad, grandpa or etc .. You get a brief hug and kiss at the begining and end and you can only hold hands above the table which you sit across from your loved one. When we were married we got a total of 35 minutes to spend with each other after the wedding. You can't send packages to them here and there aren't "Family Visits" in Oregon either.
BUT all that doesn't matter to me if that's all I get for the rest of my life with my husband then I will Cherish that 100%. Anthony is serving a Life without Parole sentence, so unless the rules change or we find a lawyer to help with his case that is all we will have. The justice system here truly needs to
be revamped and looked at a million times over to change the way things are now. The public thinks they are safer with tougher sentences but they forget that crime is always going to be there. We need to fix the problems that cause people to do the things they do and give a chance to the ones that have changed.
It is a proven fact that only 2% of inmates that serve a lengthy sentence reoffend again . But these individuals are the ones that we throw the book at and the ones that we throw the key away on. We lock them away and forget about them. DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE????? NO, it doesn't. Everyone wants to make the world better but no one wants to do the work to make it better. The people that vote and make the sentences the
way they are now are also the ones that want to do nothing to change the system or the people in the system...
I hope that when you watch each story and you will see that we are human beings just like you and that this situation can,could and does happen to anybody........ maybe even someone you love.
Portrait done by another inmate and friend:
Jeff Holloway #7192808
3405 Deer Park Dr.
Salem, Oregon 97310