A prison worker who had sex with an inmate in his cell has been jailed for eight months.
Yatewuladio Djeny Matuasilva was ‘caught in the act’ when she was found in a compromising situation with the prisoner at HMP Pentonville in north London on August 30 2020.
The Operational Support Grade (OSG) officer initially denied engaging in sexual activity with the inmate.
She claimed she ‘blacked out’ and could not remember how she came to be in his cell.
When questioned the 26-year-old from Barnet inisisted: ‘I don’t remember how my trousers got half way down.’
But she later admitted misconduct in a public office and engaging in sexual behaviour with a prisoner at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
She was accused of ‘letting the side down’ and ‘endangering the safety of her colleagues and the public’ and was sentenced to eight months in jail.
Yatewuladio Djeny Matuasilva, 26, was ‘caught in the act’ when she was found in a compromising situation with the prisoner in his cell
The incident took place at HMP Pentonville (pictured, stock image) in north London last 30 August
Prison officers carry keys to the cells and the court heard how these master keys could have been stolen and released prisoners from their cells.
Judge Martyn Zeidman QC told her: ‘You carried a sealed pouch key. It should only have been used in a life-threatening emergency and, even then, only when you have the support of other officers. You used that special key to gain access to the cell.
‘You could easily have been overpowered and, with the keys in your possession, every cell door on that wing could have been opened; and access could have been obtained to other keys, opening the cells in other wings.
‘In doing so, you took a tremendous and dangerous risk.’
The pair both shared a Congolese heritage and the judge suspected this is how she developed a bond with the prisoner.
The judge said: ‘This might be why he felt able to speak to you.
‘He noticed you and spoke through the cell door. You cannot explain why you did it; or why this led to sexual relations. You were caught in the act.
‘By choosing to have sex with a prisoner in his cell, you endangered the safety of your colleagues and the public.’
He added: ‘Initially you denied that you have been engaged in sexual activity and suggested to officers that you had “blacked out” and could not remember how you came to be in his cell.
‘There was no suggestion in that interview with the duty governor, Sarah Poynter, that you had been coerced in any way; or feared for your safety.
‘You said: “I don’t remember how my trousers got half way down”.
‘You were asked if the sex was consensual and if you understood the meaning of the word consensual.
Matuasilva claimed she ‘blacked out’ and could not remember how her ‘trousers got half way down.’ But she later admitted misconduct in a public office at Snaresbrook Crown Court (pictured, stock image)
‘You confirmed that you understood but said: “I don’t believe that there was any sexual activity.”‘
The judge said Matuasilva later ‘resiled from the false account.’
Jailing her for eight months he said: ‘I do not underestimate the seriousness of the inappropriate relationship with the prisoner but my greater concern is, as I have indicated, the risk that you created to colleagues and the public.
‘It follows that, sadly, despite your lack of previous convictions, this offence so serious that there must be an immediate prison sentence.
‘Those who work in prison truly deserve respect and admiration. But you have let the side down.’
David Kitson, defending, said Matuasilva had asked to be transferred to a different area of the prison with more female members of staff and less contact with inmates but this did not happen.
He said the prisoner had initially approached Matuasilva and said he needed a listener and a relationship developed.
Nick Walmsley, head of security at the jail, said Matuasilva’s actions ‘undermined her female colleagues and will undoubtedly lead more prisoners to attempt to be sexually inappropriate to female staff’.
Matuasilva, who has a degree in criminology, worked as a prison officer for three years but has since lost her job.
According to the Ministry of Justice website no qualifications are required to be an OSG officer.
They help with the ‘day-to-day’ running of prisons, have limited contact with prisoners and do some ‘night work’.
The website adds: ‘Unlike our prison officers, your contact with prisoners is limited, although depending on the particular prison you may interact with offenders occasionally.’
Matuasilva, of Old Farm Road, Barnet, admitted engaging in sexual behaviour with a prisoner and was jailed for eight months.