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July 31, 2014
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Barryville book looks back at ex-cop’s imprisonment; newly married couple separated for a year


Early on Smith writes to Rutkin, “The absence of any worthwhile conversation is probably the most distressing aspect of my present company. I do not avoid other inmates completely, but these people are from the street—hardened criminals with no intention of breaking off with the past. They probably become more knowledgeable in the art of criminal behavior and are more of a threat after being released than after entering.”

Because he is a former cop, Matthew creates a history to tell other inmates. He writes, “The black inmate next to me has started asking questions relative to my placement in protective custody (PC) because all the other inmates have discipline problems in PC and he thought I fell into that category. I said I was a white-collar criminal, who, with six other people, embezzled $60,000. I had a very influential attorney and at his direction I was placed in PC. This statement satisfied his curiosity.”

Overall, the letters reflect a roller coaster of emotion, hope, insecurity and fear. When Smith finally returned home, the two stopped writing everyday, and the marriage nearly fell apart.

But ultimately, they worked things out, and the couple now lives in Barryville.