A special taskforce has been set up to investigate sexual relationships between inmates and prison officers as more allegations surface of sexual trysts behind bars.
The controversial allegations will be probed by the former head of the state’s Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command squad, Mark Murdoch.
Corrections Minister David Elliott said ‘around 12 staff’ had contacted him and he wanted to move to criminalise sex with prisoners and ensure any guards caught would never work in government.
‘I want their reputation so badly tarnished they can never work for the state government again,’ Mr Elliott said.
Controversial allegations of sexual trysts behind bars will be probed by the former head of the state’s Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command squad, Mark Murdoch (pictured)
Married prison guard Amy Connors (left) has been suspended from her work after the alleged affair with Sione Penisini (right) when the pair used CCTV-free interview rooms to rendezvous
‘Over the last week, a number of officers have contacted me to convey their disgust and disappointment over the allegations,’ Mr Elliott told The Daily Telegraph.
‘What is also concerning is that many of these officers have told me that they feel uncomfortable raising their concerns with their union due to its culture of favouritism and nepotism.
‘I receive information from a number of sources, but not once has the Public Service Association or any other union brought one of these allegations to my attention.’
The investigation will examine how current and past allegations of inappropriate relationships were reported, investigated and punished.
Mr Elliott said he would be meeting with prison officers at Kempsey on Monday.
Prison officer Amy Connors, a married mother-of-two, (pictured) was reported to be pregnant with convicted cop killer Penisini’s child
Sordid: Demmi Zeschke (pictured) allegedly had steamy sex sessions with drink-drive double killer Jarad Smith in Long Bay Correctional Centre, south-east Sydney
The formal investigation follows claims made by a prison guard that sordid trysts between inmates and staff are ‘commonplace’ in Australian jails.
The anonymous whistle-blower said she once saw a guard sitting on top of a naked prisoner with her skirt up while having sex with him in a jail cell.
Another one of her former colleagues gave birth to a convicted killer’s children after he seduced her in a quiet area of a prison wing, she said.
The guard told 9News: ‘It’s commonplace for female officers to have sex with inmates.
Former corrections officer, Kerryn Pholi (pictured) insisted that banning women from male prisons is not the answer
‘I saw a female prison officer with her skirt up around her waist with no underwear on top of an inmate with no clothes on.’
That incident was in 2009. Asked if she had seen other guards having sex with inmates, she replied: ‘Yes, I had seen another female prison officer in a secluded area of a wing in the middle of the day having sex with an inmate as well.’
The guard said these acts were not reported because of a culture of silence.
She also said it was common for guards to have sex with each other inside jail at work.
It comes after two female guards were this week accused of romping with convicted killers.
One former corrections officer, Kerryn Pholi, on Thursday insisted that banning women from male prisons is not the answer because a ‘professional and authoritative female presence’ is beneficial to the convicts’ rehabilitation.
She also said the vast majority of women guards wouldn’t dream of having sex with ‘a guy who doesn’t have a job, doesn’t even have his own bedroom, and who needs 24-hour supervision.’
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, she said she was mystified by how sex with an inmate even works.
‘Whatever quick grope these people could manage out of view of the cameras, the staff and other prisoners, it would hardly be a quality experience,’ she wrote.
Smith (pictured), now on day release until his parole in September 2019, was drunk and high on cocaine and MDMA when he ran over Katherine Pracy and her boyfriend Gary Kelly in December 2014
Corrective Service Commissioner Peter Severin wants to throw officers who cavort with inmates behind bars and consider forcing inmates to take anti-libido drugs.
It’s currently not illegal for corrections staff to have sex with inmates, although it is a breach of their code of conduct.
‘If I had my way I would make it an offence punishable by imprisonment,’ Mr Severin told The Daily Telegraph.
Hinting at anti-libido drugs, he added: ‘I want to do anything that will stop inappropriate behaviour from happening.
‘If there are medically based options would I say no? No I wouldn’t, no I wouldn’t because I want to stop this behaviour from happening.’
Female prison guard Amy Connors (pictured) is alleged to have had sex with cop killer Sione Penisini
Convicted cop killer Sione Pensini (right) and prison guard Amy Connors were under surveillance for more than a month before the alleged sexual liaison was uncovered
Guard Demmi Zeschke was accused of having steamy sex sessions with drink-drive double killer Jarad Smith, 23, in Long Bay Correctional Centre, south-east Sydney.
She is said to have swapped shifts with colleagues to work at night when the pair could sneak to the gym for sordid trysts.
The couple’s cunning arrangement came to a sudden end when other guards allegedly caught them in the act before Zeschke resigned.
Smith, now on day release until his parole in September 2019, was drunk and high on cocaine and MDMA when he ran over Katherine Pracy and her boyfriend Gary Kelly in December 2014.
The couple’s families – already dismayed at Smith’s ‘lenient’ four-year sentence – are furious that he was allowed to have sex behind bars.
‘He probably has got it easier than we have,’ Ms Pracy’s sister Louise Miller told 9 News.
Corrective Service Commissioner Peter Severin is pushing for dramatic reforms after two female guards were this week accused of romping with convicted killers
‘Incarceration is supposed to take away all those privileges but some of the prisoners are still getting that privilege,’ brother-in-law Duncan Miller said.
On his radio show on Wednesday, 2GB host Ryan Hadley called prisons ‘hotbeds’ for illicit sexual relationships.
It comes after convicted cop killer Sione Penisini was caught having a sexual relationship with a guard in Kempsey maximum-security prison in New South Wales.
In 2015, officer Jody Marson (pictured), 33, was sacked for having an ‘improper relationship’ with Thomas Kelly’s killer
Prison officer Amy Connors, a married mother-of-two, was reported to be pregnant with Penisini’s child, but her family has denied those claims, according to radio station 2GB.
Penisini was sentenced to 36 years jail in 2002, after being convicted of murdering police officer Glenn McEnally.
Corrective Services staff reportedly had Connors and Penisini under surveillance for a month before they swooped, suspending the guard from duty, Nine News reported.
Penisini has since been moved to Goulburn Supermax jail, home to Australia’s most hardened criminals, after allegedly assaulting a fellow prisoner in recent weeks.
Penisini allegedly ‘groomed’ Connors by pushing her into weightloss surgery.
Police Association president Tony King slammed Mr Elliot and Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin after the allegations were made public.
‘If Elliott and Severin were doing their jobs, every cop killer would be rotting away in Supermax, it’s a direct slap in the face of every officer, all of us who have worn the blue shirt,’ he said on Tuesday.
Connors reportedly attempted to tender her resignation after being suspended on Friday but it was denied because Correction Services wish to complete their investigations first.
In 2015, correctional officer Jody Marson, 33, was sacked for having an ‘improper relationship’ with Kieran Loveridge, who was convicted of killing Thomas Kelly in an unprovoked attack in Sydney’s Kings Cross in 2012.
Loveridge’s relationship with Ms Marson took place inside the cell he shared with another prisoner before the 21-year-old was moved to Goulburn Supermax prison back in March 2015 for stomping on a fellow inmate’s head.
Kieran Loveridge (left), was convicted of killing Thomas Kelly in an unprovoked attack in Sydney’s Kings Cross in 2012
Pensini was jailed for 36 years after the 2002 killing of NSW Police Constable Constable Glenn McEnally (pictured)