According to a new report, at least 50 prison officers in the UK have been fired from their jobs due to “inappropriate relationships” with inmates inspired by the hit show Orange is the New Black.
The Daily Mail reports that since January 2010, at least one guard per month has been fired for getting too close and cozy with inmates, in line with the infamous plot from the hit Netflix series, meaning 52 sackings per year.
Government ministers in Britain have long urged a “zero tolerance” policy for staff who break prison rules, especially when it comes to intimacy or forging problematic relationships between themselves and prisoners.
The UK’s Prison Service says it has strict guidelines in place regarding what constitutes an “inappropriate relationship” between prison guards and inmates, although it seems that “zero tolerance” policy has not been put in place properly.
According to the HM Prison Service conduct and discipline guidelines, “Staff must exercise particular care to ensure that their dealings with prisoners, former prisoners and their friends and relations are not open to abuse, misrepresentation or exploitation on either side.”
In one high-profile example, back in March 2014, prison guard Julie Turton was sentenced to two years and eight months after striking up an intense sexual relationship with a heroin dealer inmate and smuggling drugs to him hidden inside chocolate Kinder eggs.
In another example from November, Andre Edman, a married prison guard at HMP Holloway, was jailed for four years after having an ongoing affair with a teenage inmate.
The shadow justice secretary in Britain, Sadiq Khan, told reporters, “Some prisoners can be very manipulative and while some prison officers might be truly love struck this kind of activity can fuel blackmail and extortion, leading to contraband, mobile phones and drugs getting into jails. We can’t have criminal empires being run from behind bars, which can often be a by-product of these kinds of relationships.”
At the same time, Britain’s prisons minister Andrew Selous said, ‘The definition of an inappropriate relationship is any relationship with prisoners, ex-prisoners, partners, immediate family or close associates involved in criminal activities if not formally declared to the Governor or Head of the National Offender Management Service unit as a potential “Conflict of Interest.”