A female prison officer spent 380 hours on the phone with a prisoner during a six-month affair.
Katie Loxton, 27, was a serving prison custody officer at HMP Oakwood, in Staffordshire, when she first came into contact with 32-year-old Adam Higgs.
Higgs made a total of 3,451 calls to Loxton and spoke with her for more than 380 hours, costing him £798 between July 7 2021 and Jan 13 2022.
Loxton, of Sandwell, West Mids, has now been jailed for 12 months for misconduct in a public office.
Pair bypassed security
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that she would spend a large portion of her time on the block where Higgs was housed, raising the suspicions of a number of officers.
Further checks then revealed that the pair had bypassed the prison’s security system and were communicating through a fake contact on Higgs’s telephone in his cell.
He managed to hide a mobile phone which he used to communicate with Loxton through social media and the pair would often “perform sexual acts to each other over” via the device, the court was told.
Officers arrested Loxton and searched her home on Jan 27 last year, where they found three handwritten letters from Higgs inside.
Higgs, of Grantham, Lincs, was interviewed about the findings in prison in March 2022 and the pair later admitted their offences in court.
As well as misconduct in a public office, Loxton also admitted transmitting or causing the transmission of an image/sound by electronic means from within a prison.
Higgs was handed an eight-month sentence for possessing inside a prison a device capable of transmitting or receiving images, sounds or information by electronic communications.
He also admitted transmitting or causing the transmission of an image/sound by electronic means from within a prison without authority.
Dc Adam McHugh, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Loxton and Higgs were able to manipulate the security measures of the prison telephony system to hide their relationship from officers and inmates.
“We are committed to upholding the values and conduct the public expect of public office workers.
“I’m happy that Loxton recognised her conduct had fallen short of the expected standard.”
Prison officer affairs
It is the latest case after the number of prison officers caught having affairs hit a record high, with 36 warders sacked over relationships in the past three years.
A total of 31 female prison officers and five male warders have been sacked for misconduct since 2019 – nearly double the 19 female staff dismissed over the previous four years, according to Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures released under Freedom of Information laws.
They included one prison officer who had an inmate’s baby, another who had her lover’s cell number tattooed on her inner thigh, and the governor of Onley prison in Northamptonshire who was jailed for intimate communications with an inmate.
It follows concerns raised by inspectors and unions that high staff turnover has resulted in increasing numbers of young new recruits being placed in front-line roles.
Over the past five years, the number of female prison staff has risen by 27 per cent to 15,000 and now accounts for 42 per cent of all staff.
In 2019, prison officer Ayshea Gunn, 27, a criminology and psychology graduate, was jailed for 12 months after falling in love and having a sexual relationship with a “dangerous” 29-year-old inmate, Khuram Razaq.
The pair made more than 1,000 phone calls to each other when he was inside HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, where he was serving 12 years for conspiracy to rob. They used phones to stream lewd live footage of themselves.
Since the prison in north Wales opened six years ago, pioneering a more liberal approach and rebranding cells as rooms, 18 women – including full-time officers and contract staff – have been sacked or resigned after their affairs were exposed.