Shocking 129 bent jail employees unmasked by Prisons Counter Corruption Unit in its first year

A CRACK anti-corruption unit has unmasked 129 bent jail employees in its first year.

The work of the Counter Corruption Unit, set up in April last year, led to at least ten staff being convicted.

Another 13 were fired and 106 excluded for romping with inmates and smuggling in drugs, weapons and other contraband.

The figures could be higher owing to delays in reporting, the Prison Service said.

Among those caught was guard Stephanie Smithwhite, 41, who had sex with drug lord Curtis “Cocky” Warren at Frankland Prison, Co Durham. She was jailed for two years. Joshua Bossman-Brandt, 40, was jailed for six years, nine months for smuggling Class A drugs and an Xbox One into HMP Coldingley in Surrey.

Other figures reveal 43 jail staff were fired for smuggling in drugs, tobacco and mobiles between 2016 and October this year.

More than 17,300 mobile phones and Sim cards were also found in jails this year, one of which belonged to Rhys Jones’ killer Sean Mercer, who used a mobile phone to start an illicit relationship with a woman he met on Instagram.

Prisoners have had fewer visitors due to Covid this year, but inspectors at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire found that during lockdown “intelligence about and finds of drugs (as well as mobile phones and sim cards) continued at a level similar to that experienced in normal conditions. As there were no visits and the itemiser was in regular use, it is likely that these items were brought in by staff”.

Mick Pimblett, of the POA, formerly the Prison Officers’ Association, said most staff were dedicated and honest. He added: “It is only correct that the small minority that engage in inappropriate behaviour are investigated and suitable action taken against them.”

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