Katie Loxton, a 27-year-old prison custody officer from Sandwell, has been jailed for 12 months after forming a relationship with an inmate at HMP Oakwood.
Adam Higgs, the 32-year-old inmate from Grantham, Lincolnshire, was also handed an eight-month sentence, resulting in a combined term of 20 months for the pair.
The sentences were announced at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Wednesday (10 August).
Loxton spent considerable time on the block where Higgs was housed, which raised concerns among other officers working there.
Despite denying any wrongdoing when questioned by staff, subsequent checks revealed that Loxton and Higgs had found a way to bypass the prison’s security system.
They communicated through a fake contact set up via Higgs’ telephone in his cell.
Between 7 July 2021 and 13 January 2022, Higgs made a staggering 3,451 calls to this fake contact, talking with Loxton for over 380 hours and spending £798 on the calls.
Higgs also concealed a mobile phone to communicate with Loxton through social media, with both engaging in sexual acts over the phone.
After the discovery, Loxton was arrested and searched on 27 January 2022, where three handwritten letters from Higgs were found.
Both Loxton and Higgs later admitted to the offences in court.
Loxton was convicted of misconduct in a public office and unauthorised transmission of images or sounds by electronic means from within a prison.
Higgs’ sentence was for possessing a device capable of transmitting images or sounds inside a prison and unauthorised transmission of images or sounds.
In the past five years, 15 prison officers have been jailed for forming relationships with inmates.
The most recent prior case was in July 2022 when Claire Martin, a prison officer at HMP Erlestoke in Wiltshire, was jailed for 18 months.
The convicted officers received sentences ranging from 18 months to 3 years for offences including misconduct in a public office, perverting the course of justice, and engaging in sexual activity with a person in their custody.
Detective Constable Adam McHugh, who dealt with the case, 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 expected of Public Office workers. I’m happy that Loxton recognised her conduct had fallen short of the expected standard.”
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