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Inmate/Staff Relationships


Specializes in Acute Care, CM, School Nursing. Has 20 years experience.

I have been meaning to ask about this... I live in NY, so the 2 inmates that escaped from an upstate facility is still pretty big news. It's interesting to me, because I have been working per diem in a county jail for several months now.

So, how common is this, with staff members ruining their lives to become involved with inmates?? I know inmates can be very manipulative and convincing. But, wow! It seems like such a crazy thing to get involved with. That female staff member from the upstate prison is in jail now. She has probably lost her job, family, friends...


Red Kryptonite

Specializes in hospice. Has 3 years experience.

Did you see that she had a deal with those guys to murder her husband? Poor guy. Clearly evil lives on both sides of that fence. :no:

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

It's pretty common. Inmates have nothing better to do & nothing to lose than to manipulate & con C.O.'s & healthcare staff. If you're strong willed you won't fall for it. But if you're weak minded then they will get you. I can't understand why anyone would fall for it, they have nothing to offer you & you have so much to lose.


Specializes in Neurosciences, stepdown, acute rehab, LTC. Has 8 years experience.

The relationship(s) had been going on since at least 2013. I think it just kept spiraling slowly until the lady was living in an elaborate delusion. The prisoners must have targeted her as someone with low self esteem, I suppose there are probably many cases where prisoners try to manipulate workers this way.


Specializes in LTC.

Kind of makes me think of teachers who have relationships with their students. Why do they RISK everything?!?


Specializes in critical care.

Part of my CO hubs' training was focused on how to not become a "duck", as they call them. A duck is a staff member who gets groomed into helping the inmates, bringing in contraband and stuff like that. As a previous poster said, the inmates have nothing to lose. COs certainly don't get paid enough to deal with the garbage they put up with every day. Some might be easy targets after enough time of that level of stress, emotional warfare and constant need for vigilance. It's scary.

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

Some prison employees see sex with inmates as a perk of the job. A few years ago, four female guards at the Baltimore City jail got pregnant by the same inmate, a gang leader who unofficially ran the jail. Here in Vermont, in 2012, a female prison guard had a baby with a male prisoner.

I'm across the lake from Plattsburgh, not far from Dannemora. I also have a job offer (pending background check) at my local prison. Home health requires strong boundaries, and I'm sure inmate relations will be covered in my orientation.

What really blows my mind in the Dannemora case is the fact that the woman's husband worked at the same prison. I'm not really surprised, since jobs are hard to come by in that part of the state, but did he know about the affair?

Red Kryptonite

Specializes in hospice. Has 3 years experience.

Some prison employees see sex with inmates as a perk of the job.

Jeez. Apparently some people REALLY have no standards.


Specializes in critical care.

That Baltimore prison one was the HUGE talk of things when it happened. Those COs were perfect for laundering their money while the inmates were locked up. Those women got houses, vehicles, all kinds of stuff. Imagine being their kids. What a mess. ANY sex act, regardless of gender or implied or spoken consent, between inmate and CO is considered rape.


Specializes in Corrections, PCU, Dialysis. Has 2 years experience.

I was a prison nurse and when I heard all of this foolishness on the news it didn't surprise me one bit! When I first started, I heard a lot of stories of previous nurses and female correctional officers who had hooked up with inmates and got busted. After I left, The director of nursing, herself, got busted for having an affair with an inmate. It's really all too common.

I've seen the same thing happen in longer-term psych and substance abuse settings. Some of the clients are v. adept at manipulating others to get their needs met, and, if you're lonely, emotionally vulnerable, have low self-esteem, etc., you can easily get sucked in. The rules and professional boundaries are there for a reason and are our friends. If people just abide by the staff rules and expectations (in whatever setting they are in), you won't (can't) get into trouble.

My favorite "quick 'n dirty" guideline for professional boundaries has always been: If you wouldn't do something in front of your boss and coworkers, you shouldn't do it at all. I'm sure the female prison employee's situation started out with her doing small, simple things that she wouldn't have done if her boss and coworkers were watching, and snowballed from there.

icuRNmaggie, BSN, RN

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

Games Criminals Play by Bud Allen and Diane Bosta

This book was recommended by a friend who is in law enforcement. Fascinating reading for anyone who has to deal this population.

I've been a Correctional Officer in a state prison for the last 16 years. I am also currently enrolled in Nursing School. I've worked with Death Row, Ad-SEG and General Population Offenders. I've seen it all. I remember starting in Corrections when I was 18, fresh out of High School, thinking to myself these stories can't be real. I am now 35 and I tell you these incidents are common and real. Some get caught before their plan can be carried out and others are able to proceed with their plans.

Tina, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, CM, School Nursing. Has 20 years experience.

So interesting. I absolutely can't wrap my head around this. But, as amoLucia mentioned, it's like teachers getting involved with students. Wrong on so many levels, and tons of risk. Terrible, terrible idea...

Thanks for the insight, everyone!

Beats me why some women want to loose everything getting involved with inmates. ...if you want to get involved with a looser why not find one on the streets...there are plenty around and it will at least not get you in trouble professionally...

ms pooh

Has 28 years experience.

Hi, I have been in corrections for about 9 years now, in a private camp(3 years) and now in a state camp (6 years) The first orientation that I went to a LT. told us that if you practice these 3 rules you will not get caught up in the games inmates play.

1. Never give an inmate anything, not even the time of day.

2. There is no such thing as a good inmate, they are in prison for a reason.

3. Always be fair, firm and consistent. If you are going to do something special for one inmate then be prepared to do for the other 1500 or 3000 other inmates. If you are not willing to do this don't do it for one inmate.

Be courteous and 9 out of 10 times the inmates will be courteous.

My sister worked with men's correctional for 30 years and retired from the same facility she started with....she was not having it...she always made it plain....y'all can't do nothing for me up in here making pennies and can't do nothing for me on the outside when you can't get a j-o-b ....so step off....they didn't mess with my sis! Hehehehe....had another sister to work with men's correctional for 15 years they didn't mess with her either....she had the same spill as my other sister....so it is done every day not to fall for inmates but it is done just as often as those ones who do fall for inmates. My sister said you have to be intentional about drawing the line daily!


Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.

I think I read a comment here that said the only thing an inmate can offer you is Prison Time....that's it. I'm polite and nice to all the inmates...they'll say hi to me if I see them on the Walk or on my way to chow. I say hi back. Or say hi first. I'm a friendly person. IN NO WAY am I flirting with them. Just merely treating them like a human being ;)