Caroline Giammanco never expected to fall in love with a man convicted of bank robbery known as the Boonie Hat Bandit. In this interview she reveals that she and Keith Giammanco were married in the visiting room at the Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameron Missouri in early November, 2017. Keith aka the Boonie Hat Bandit has about 7-8 years left of his mandatory minimum sentence.
The daughter of a deputy sheriff with a college degree isn’t the “typical” vision many people have of a woman in a prison relationship. The love and dedication Caroline and Keith have is real.
Bank Notes: The True Story of the Boonie Hat Bandit is Caroline’s first book. Her second book, Guilty Hearts: The World of Prison Romances, is now available.
Caroline was the daughter of a police officer who became entranced by the criminal justice system when she watched her mother set a life example while she served on a jury. The jurors wanted to convict a defendant with little discussion, so they could get home for dinner. Caroline’s mother said said no and refused to vote until they examined the evidence, had a discussion and then made a proper decision. They found the man not guilty. As a young woman just out of high school, Caroline defied local custom by leaving Missouri and attending the University of Arizona. She married while in Arizona and found herself teaching at a small school in the 4- Corners area of northern Arizona. She eventually returned to Missouri after she had two children. By this time, Caroline was divorced and teaching in a southern Missouri school. When the 2007-8 recession arrived, she was laid off. Because of her past experience with multi cultural students, Caroline was eventually able to land a job as an English teacher at the South Central Correctional Center in the Ozark town of Licking, Missouri. She was interviewing inmates to become a tutor in her English class when she met Kieth Giammanco. They connected as if they were old friends. When they fell in love, she left the prison and went back to school teaching in south Missouri.
In this podcast Caroline tells the story of her prison romance, the joy, challenges and heartbreak this has brought to her personal life and her new challenge to expose prison corruption and inequities on the criminal justice system while she supports herself as a school teacher.
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