A prison guard has provided an explanation for why female officers are frequently caught having sexual relations with inmates, citing multiple factors at play.
Over the course of four years since 2019, the Ministry of Justice has reported that 31 officers in England and Wales were dismissed due to inappropriate relationships with prisoners, resulting in one case of a love child. The Sun has stated that during the period between January 2015 and March 2019, 32 male and female prison staff were terminated for sexual relationships with inmates.
Out of the 19 female officers involved in such relationships, 7 engaged in sexual acts with male inmates, while the other 6 cases were left unreported to preserve anonymity.
The individual who used to work as a prison officer expressed his belief that the situation has spiraled out of control. He provided an explanation to the outlet as to why he thinks the figures seem to be unusually high.
According to Neil "Sam" Samworth, who served 11 years at Strangeways prison in Manchester: "Training and recruitment has never been ideal, but as they are now, they have no experience."
"They've got the youngest workforce ever. They are literally seeing kids on wings straight out of college aged 18, 19, 20.
"You've got a very inexperienced, young workforce and you've got a lot of lads locked up who have something that is really dangerous - it's called charm."
As the author of "Strangeways: A Prison Officer's Story" and host of the "Real Porridge" podcast, Samworth explained that inmates would use intimidation and manipulation to take advantage of inexperienced recruits who were often very naive.
He cautioned that inmates were not just looking for casual sex, but could also seek out recruits to act as drug mules for them.
"I do not know what people think they are expecting," he added.
Samworth commented on the recent incidents of former staff members and a nurse engaging in inappropriate relationships with prisoners in Welsh prisons.
Within the last three years, Jennifer Gavan, Ayshea Gunn, and Emily Watson, all former staff members at MP Berwyn in Wrexham, Wales, were sentenced to jail for their actions.
Additionally, Ruth Shmylo, accused of having an inappropriate relationship with Harri Pullen at HMP Parc in Bridgend, Wales, is set to go on trial in September.
Elyse Hibbs, a prison nurse, was also sentenced to six months in jail in October after exchanging "flirtatious" messages with Pullen. When asked for his opinion on the matter, Samworth shared his thoughts.
"When I was in the job we did have one or two staff who were reprimanded for inappropriate relationships [with prisoners]."
"But lads I know that are getting out now tell me you don't even have to approach staff, staff are approaching them saying 'can I get you anything'."
"There's that much drug smuggling and rings going on that you've got prisons with five or six staff involved and police are busting them."
"Now the experienced prison staff are gone and we've got all these youngsters, prisoners will play them."
A representative from the Prison Service responded to the issue of relationships between officers and inmates by stating:
"The vast majority of Prison Service staff are hardworking and honest."
"But we are doing more than ever to catch and punish the small number who break the rules."