This is not aimed at the original poster at all, just a general comment- but you're right febmoon.... for some reason whenever "prison" is involved in the relationship or even friendship, it's open season.
I've made unconventional choices all my life and have often felt it was open season on me for it. Try adopting a child of another race if you want to see the real ugly side of humanity come out....for real. In the end, that experience, which I will here relate to the experience of loving someone in an "unconventional setting" is the kind of thing that you just have to do- let what is in your heart and mind guide you, and the opinions of others, sadly, they must fall by the wayside.
The love the human heart is capable of can be bigger than the petty nonsense of the mind.
If I had listened to the negative naysayers I wouldn't have bucked convention, adopted my beautiful daughter, etc. I was dismayed to find how "on my own" I was at times with things but that's when I relied on love being the important thing, not people and their judgments. I also learned in that event, probably much like the inmate relationship experience, that people's mass judgments are actually meaningless in so many ways even though they can sting. You're STILL going to do what you're going to do, guided by love.
Often people are judging out of fear. They're afraid for you, afraid you'll be hurt, things will go wrong, so they try to naysay it but it's not really helpful like that.