Monday July 25, 2016

ENCORE: 'I did not see Murderer': Author Diane Schoemperlen on falling in love with inmate

Author Diane Schoemperlen looks back on her six-year-relationship with a convicted killer in her book, This Is Not My Life: A Memoir of Love, Prison and Other Complications.

Author Diane Schoemperlen looks back on her six-year-relationship with a convicted killer in her book, This Is Not My Life: A Memoir of Love, Prison and Other Complications. (Mark Raynes Roberts)

Listen 23:33

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You never know when you're going to fall in love. For Governor General's award-winning author Diane Schoemperlen, it happened when she was volunteering with some prison inmates. 

"I never imagined that I would be involved with a convicted killer," Diane Schoemperlen, author of This is Not My Life: A Memoir of Love, Prison and Other Complications tells Anna Maria Tremonti in this rebroadcast from May of this year.

The prolific novelist took a turn into "stranger than fiction" territory when she fell in love with a federal inmate. He was serving a life sentence, for second-degree murder. And yet, they managed to keep up a tumultuous, on-again-off-again six-year-relationship.

'I did not see Murderer.' - Diane Schoemperlen on her boyfriend in prison

Diane Schoemperlen, author of 12 works of fiction and non-fiction, says she doesn't regret her relationship with a convicted murderer. She feels even though it didn't work out, she did love him "deeply."

"I did not see Murderer. I looked at him every day and saw Shane, the man I loved."

On the state of the prison system, Schoemperlen tells Tremonti it needs to be at a place where "it could actually help, not just punish and then spit them out on the street with no support."

Schoemperlen says that her ex-boyfriend, who spent 30 years in jail, wasn't prepared for life outside prison.

 "Like a lot of people who have been in prison for a long time, I think he thought it was easy out here but we all know that daily life out here is not easy. There's a lot of aggravation and a lot of stress."

'They are not only their crimes.' - Diane Schoemperlen on prisoners

While Schoemperlen says she's not "soft on crime," she thinks it's important to recognize prisoners "are people."

"They have families, they have people who love them and we need to remember that. It's not that the committing of a crime is okay with me, it's absolutely not okay with me ... [but] people on the outside, who are reading about them in the paper, I think you have to remember that they are not only their crimes."

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this web post.

This segment ws produced by The Current's Idella Sturino, Sarah Grant and Howard Goldenthal.