(NewsNation) — As a nationwide manhunt stretches on, investigators confirmed that an escaped Alabama inmate and his corrections officer shared a “special relationship.”
Relationships between inmates and corrections officers have been widely recognized in shows such as “Orange Is the New Black,” but they’re more common in real life than many might think.
“She’s (Vickie White) convenient sex for him (Casey Cole White). And when he’s done with her, he’ll throw her away. She’s disposable. But him, like, manipulating her. It’s a classic inmate-staff maneuver,” founder of Wall Street Prison Consultants, Larry Levine, said.
“This is what happens. I’ve seen situations in three different prisons I was at where inmates were having sex with staff members. Usually, it happens in the medical unit, because they can go into a room and close the door,” Levine said.
Levine has witnessed first-hand the dynamic of prison-guard relationships, having served time at 11 federal correctional institutions of multiple custody and security levels.
“Now I’ve also seen in a county jail detention center setting where there’s, like, a vacant cell open next door, a couple cell doors down, where the staff member will take the inmate in the middle of the night, out of the cell, walk them two cells down. And, I don’t know, do whatever,” Levine added.
Despite a Prison Rape Elimination Act passed by Congress in 2003, sexual assault and prison rape continue to persist in jails across the country.
In June of 2021, a former correctional officer at the Fresno County Jail in California was sentenced for a sexual relationship she had with an inmate. A judge sentenced 27-year-old Tina Gonzalez to two years of formal probation and 210 days in jail.
In December 2021, a former correctional officer in Rhode Island faced numerous charges after an investigation revealed he was having sex with an inmate, according to the R.I. Department of Corrections. Justin Toye, 36, was charged with three counts of having sexual relations with inmates, though a spokesperson clarified that the charges are for different infractions from having sex with one inmate.
In 2001, former South Carolina prison guard Alfred Rowe pleaded guilty to having sex with inmate Susan Smith, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1994 for murdering her sons.
During an interview on “The Doctor Oz Show,” Rowe spoke said that Smith seduced him, costing him his job.
In 2015, former prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell was arrested for allegedly helping convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from Bedford Hills Correctional Center in Westchester County, New York.
The state report indicated Joyce Mitchell had a sexual relationship with at least one of the escaped inmates, but she swore to her husband, on her son’s life, that it wasn’t true, according to a report from WFXR’s sister station, WPIX. In 2020, Mitchell received a conditional release from jail.