Eighteen female guards fired for having affairs with inmates
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Eighteen female prison guards have been fired for either crossing relationship boundaries or having 'illicit affairs' at Britain's 'cushiest prison'.
Three of the women have ended up in court for their illegal relationships, which were undertaken with inmates at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, Wales.
Among those being pulled up for mixing work with pleasure are Jennifer Gavan, 27, Ayshea Gunn, 27, and Emily Watson, 27.
Gavan was jailed for eight months in December following her fling with prisoner Alex Coxon, 25. She had sent the intimate photos of herself to him via Snapchat and kissed him. The affair took place between April and July 2020.
She also smuggled a mobile phone behind bars for Coxon, accepting £150 in payment.
She would later plead guilty to misconduct whilst at Mold Crown Court.
Gavan, of Llay, Wrexham, pleaded guilty to misconduct in public at Mold Crown Court.
One year previously, fellow officer Ayshea Gunn had a fling with 'dangerous' inmate Khuram Razaq, 29.
Before she was jailed for one year in 2019, photos found in Gunn's bedroom showed her passionately kissing Razaq.
Emily Watson took her offence one step further and was jailed for performing a sex act on prisoner John McGee in his prison cell.
The court heard that Watson and McGee had been alone in his cell three times - twice for oral sex and once for intercourse.
Mark Fairhurst, chair of the Prison Officers' Association, blamed the misconduct on the 'wrong type' of people being hired.
"Staff being recruited don't have face-to-face interviews… it's all done on Zoom," Fairhurst said in a statement to The Mirror.
"A lot of people getting these jobs don't have enough life experience and are susceptible to conditioning from prisoners.
"Your figures just prove what we've been warning the employer about for years."
According to figures from the Ministry of Justice, 31 female prison officers have been dismissed from their jobs since 2019 for inappropriate relationships.
New training has now been introduced at HMP Berwyn - which is the largest male prison in the UK - in an attempt to curb further violations of protocol.
HM Prison Service announced the enhanced training after Gavan was sentenced last year, saying in a statement: "Our frontline staff are nothing short of heroes - undergoing an extremely tough and demanding job day-in day-out to get criminals back on the straight and narrow and keep our streets safe.
"It is for their sake we will never tolerate those few officers who think they are above the law.
"That's why our newly bolstered Counter Corruption Team is working around the clock to root out and clamp down on those who undermine our exemplary service with their dangerous behaviour and ensure they face the strongest possible consequences for their crimes."
A Prison Service spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice added: "The vast majority of Prison Service staff are hardworking and honest but we are doing more than ever to catch the small number who break the rules."
The prison had long been deemed the 'cushiest' in Britain, as it offers prisoners access to a wide range of educational and training services, in addition to vocational qualifications, a full sized sports hall, weights and fitness room and multiple ways of keeping in touch with family.