Although affairs between prison guards and inmates are nothing new, recent reports reveal how the potentially catastrophic dynamic of these relationships are corrupting prisons around the country. Last month, maximum-security inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, after receiving help from prison worker Joyce Mitchell.
According to investigative reports, Mitchell was involved in a sexual relationship with both Sweat and Matt. Although she assumed the relationships were cultivated out of love, she soon learned both men had ulterior motives for their involvement with her. Apparently, she was an easy target who ultimately contributed to their escape, reports Fox News.
Former inmate Erik Jensen recently put Mitchell's relationship with the two inmates into perspective. He confirmed that the unconventional relationships were ongoing.
"We had a joke," Jensen said. "It was like, that was his boo, that was his girl... she would bring him like barbecue chicken, spareribs, things that were cooked on her home grill."
Back in February, the Baltimore City Detention Center made headlines after reports surfaced about inmate Tavon White, who allegedly had numerous affairs with various prison guards. In fact, he reportedly impregnated four of the guards, according 19 Action News.
The daunting circumstances surrounding these two highly publicized incidents have influenced a recent ABC News report that theorizes why so many female prison guards and workers are taking such drastic risks by getting involved in relationships with inmates. From 2001 to 2007, the number of female prison workers employed at all-male facilities has increased by 16 percent.
Now, approximately 40 percent of the workers in these facilities are females, which raises the probability of inappropriate relationships occurring. So, surprisingly, these types of relationships are more common than most would assume. According to ABC News, a recent federal government report also shows the rapid increase in these types of corrupt relationships.
"According to federal government reports, sexual relationships between inmates and prison employees are fairly common. The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics released a report in January 2014 reviewing data collected on sexual victimization in prisons from 2009 to 2011, in which they found that almost half – 48 percent -- of substantiated incidents of sexual victimization involved guards and inmates, while the other 52 percent involved only inmates."
Robin Kay Miller, a 53-year-old correctional officer with more than 20 years of experience, recently put prison relationships into perspective. Incarceration definitely doesn't stop men from pursuing women. If anything, it only makes things worse, and many con artists behind bars have been known to prey on certain types of women.
"They look for the weak. They look for insecurity. They look if they're beautiful, body parts, the unintelligent, the not so bright, and then they look for the hustler, hustler females, and then they look for the promiscuous females. The inmate would throw the compliments you know, 'Baby you look good today, oh your hair looks nice.' Men know there are things that woman like to hear.
"Them dealing with an inmate in jail is no different than them dealing with a man in the street. Female corrections officers, we're on that job basically eight to 16 hours a day doing overtime. Every day. That's basically our second home and if they don't have anybody at home or their man is not treating them right and then they come to work and this man is full of compliments and just telling them that he loves and them and he gone suck them in. Once you get sucked in, you not thinking it's wrong."
The consequences of these relationships often end in disaster because a shift in authority and power often takes place when the woman surrenders emotionally. The study also revealed 37 percent of these relationships "appeared to have been willing." When these relationships become personal, female prison guards tend to have lapses in judgment, which often contributes to the corruption behind prison walls.
There have been a staggering number of cases where prisoners have received special privileges and illegal contraband from females who are employed to uphold the law, but fail to do so because of emotional attachment to inmates. If drastic measures are not implemented to decrease the probability of these relationships occurring, correctional facilities will slowly be overtaken by prisoners who have manipulated workers to make their circumstances work in their favor.
What do you think should be done to abate these types of relationships? Share your thoughts.
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