Hereford & Worcester

Two Redditch female prison officers jailed over conduct

Two female prison officers have been jailed after making unauthorised phone calls to inmates at a Worcestershire prison and taking one of them out.

Jodie Pugh, 30, of Tipton, and Danielle Ofkants, 25, of Redditch were working at HMP Hewell in Redditch when they visited an entertainment and leisure complex with a prisoner.

Both admitted wilful misconduct in a public office at Worcester Crown court.

Pugh was jailed for two-and-a-half years and Ofkants for 12 months.

The two women also encouraged prisoners to use mobile phones, the court heard.

The offences took place between November 2010 and September last year.

Speaking after the court hearing, Det Insp Gerry Smith of West Mercia Police said an 18-month investigation involving detectives from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit established Pugh was having inappropriate relationships with one or more serving prisoners.

Ofkants had also had unauthorised meetings and telephone conversations with serving prisoners and had encouraged the use of mobile phones.

On one occasion both Pugh and Ofkants had visited Star City in Birmingham with a prisoner and Pugh had a meal out with the same inmate at a Broad Street restaurant in the city.

Det Insp Smith said: "The corrupt activities Pugh and Ofkants were engaged in amounted to a serious abuse of the public's trust and it also posed a significant threat to prison discipline.

"People in positions of trust who contemplate such behaviour can expect the courts to come down on them hard."

Stephanie Roberts-Bibby, Governor of HMP Hewell, said: "We remain committed to identifying and eradicating all forms of staff wrongdoing.

"Where staff develop an inappropriate relationship with a prisoner they put themselves and their colleagues at risk, potentially undermining the safety of the prison."

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