Soon after a former guard at Seattle’s King County Jail pleaded guilty to having sex with an inmate, a report suggests jail workers themselves have worried for some time about a permissive culture in the jail that may have set the stage for recent cases of sexual misconduct, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “We need to get back to the basics,” said Reed Holtgeerts, director of the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention.
The report by the Moss Group, which specializes in analyzing jail facilities dealing with sexual misconduct, was initiated earlier this year after cases of sexual misconduct within the jail first began getting widespread attention. Consultants interviewed 90 department employees and almost two dozen inmates. Those who work in the jail, they found, worried that the culture in the facility allowed a “sexualized atmosphere” in which supervisors had relationships with subordinates, and off-duty socializing seemed to blur the lines that should define professional conduct. New corrections officers often are not trained in how to maintain professional boundaries.