Jailhouse crisis as prisons are rocked by HUNDREDS of claims of ‘inappropriate relationships’ between officers and inmates – after female guard’s ‘sex affair with cop killer in the interview room’ was exposed
- EXCLUSIVE: Investigators probed some 343 allegations of ‘inappropriate relationships’ in jail
- It was sparked by a female guard’s alleged trysts with a max security inmate
- Married guard Amy Connors allegedly had sex affair with Sione Penisini
- Corrective Services minister ordered an investigation to address sex crisis
- Behaviour probed included jail sex, corruption, officers being too ‘friendly’ to inmates
Investigators have been flooded with hundreds of complaints about inappropriate relationships between prison officers and inmates after a female guard was accused of jailhouse trysts with a cop killer.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal some 343 claims of alleged misconduct were referred to investigators examining ‘inappropriate’ relationships in the New South Wales prison system last year.
The independent investigation, led by a former assistant police commissioner, was launched after Kempsey prison guard Amy Connors’ ‘appalling’ alleged affair with maximum security inmate Sione Penisini was exposed in July.
The ‘inappropriate behaviour’ under investigation ranged from officers being too ‘friendly’ and discussing their personal life with inmates – to more extreme allegations like corruption and sex affairs.
The Corrective Services minister said he was ‘appalled’ at shocking prison sex allegations (stock photo) and ordered an investigation into complaints over the past ten years
Kempsey jail prison guard Amy Connors (left and right, outside court) allegedly had a sexual relationship with convicted cop killer Sione Penisini
Convicted cop killer Sione Penisini allegedly had a sexual relationship with Ms Connors
At least 21 complaints were from 2018, it can be revealed, with the rest of the claims made about serving and former prison officers in the previous decade.
Critics said vast number of complaints were proof of a major problem in Corrective Services NSW.
‘When this issue was first raised the Minister said he only knew of a handful of complaints, but we now know there have been hundreds,’ Greens MP David Shoebridge told Daily Mail Australia.
‘People are sick of being told nonsense by politicians.
‘The truth is there is an entrenched problem with inappropriate relationships between prison officers and inmates.’
But a NSW Department of Justice spokeswoman said the investigation had found an ‘overwhelming’ number of complaints were unproven.
‘We’re getting our reputation screwed and seeing this happen repeatedly just does our head in,’ a prison guard said (stock)
Corrective Services Minister David Elliott (left) spearheaded laws to jail prison officers who have sex with inmates. Greens MP David Shoebridge on right
Corrective Services Minister David Elliott launched Task Force Themis, named after the Greek goddess of law, after Connors’ alleged deeds became public.
Mr Elliott said he wanted to ‘humiliate’ officers who had breached the trust of the public and appointed a former top cop, Mark Murdoch, to lead the investigation.
He described the sex crisis as ‘systematic’. But the scale of the investigation – which looked at the agency’s response to allegations and how officers were disciplined – was previously unknown.
Last year, Mr Elliott told a parliamentary hearing that four reports had been made about female prison officers having sexual contact with inmates in 2017-18.
Of those, Connors’ story caught the most attention. Her alleged affair was revealed in excruciating detail.
A typical New South Wales jail cell is pictured above last year
A former friend said Connors acted like the ‘queen of the jail’ following a rapid weight loss
A former prison officer told Daily Mail Australia Connors and Penisini allegedly rendezvoused in interview rooms where there was no CCTV.
Their trysts ‘wouldn’t have been marathons’, the officer said.
Another former associate said Connors acted like the ‘queen of the jail’ after rapid weight loss – culminating in her liaisons with Penisini.
In 2002, Penisini fired the shots that killed highway patrolman Glenn McEnallay. He is serving a 36-year jail sentence.
Since Connors was charged, the government has passed laws that would jail prison officers for two years and fine them $2200 for sexual relationships with inmates.
Meantime, Task Force Themis has handed its final report to the secretary of the Department of Justice and the Corrective Services Minister for consideration.
Connors has been charged with misconduct in public office. Her case returns to court next week.
WHAT A PRISON OFFICER SAYS ABOUT OFFICER SEX WITH INMATES IN NSW PRISONS
A one-time colleague of Ms Connors previously told Daily Mail Australia that affairs did occur between inmates and officers.
But affair were more common between prison officers themselves.
‘It’s not just females, there’s plenty of male officers who have done this with female prisoners,’ the officer said.
‘It’s just not as high profile so it doesn’t make the papers.
‘But I tell you right now the first one who would’ve seen anything like that would’ve gone and dobbed her in.
‘We’ve got a code of conduct and most of us take our jobs seriously.
‘But we’re getting our reputation screwed and seeing this happen repeatedly just does our head in.
‘I don’t believe they (officer and inmate relationships) are rampant, but it’s a different story when it comes to officers having affairs with other officers.’