USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)

First Advisor

Dawn K. Cecil, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

Second Advisor

Mark V. Pezza, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available


Publication Date


Date Issued



The concept for this research project originated when in the 1990s there were local news stories concerning Oscar Ray Bolin, a serial killer who was being tried in Florida for the murders of women in Hillsborough and Pasco counties. His lawyer's wife met him, fell in love with him, and married him in a death row wedding ceremony. This case brought about questions such as: Why do women get involved with killers? How do they rationalize these types of relationships? Do they consider their relationships with inmates to be normal? How are these women different from women who are not involved in relationships with men who are incarcerated? Newspapers and television programs reported that many people had the same questions. While conducting research for this project, it was established that many people do not approve of relationships between a woman and a prison inmate and do not consider these to be normal relationships. As well, evidence was found that some women who are involved with prison inmates may have emotional and psychological issues that could make them qualitatively different from women who are not involved with incarcerated men.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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