A Tillamook County, Or., jail officer was on the brink of a divorce and needed someone to talk to. A 41-year-old male inmate with a history of coercion, attempted assault, and illegally possessing guns was there to lend a patient ear, reports The Oregonian. The two began an illicit relationship that resulted in the woman serving a four-month term herself, joining a rising number of corrections officers in recent years who have destroyed their careers because they crossed the line between officer and inmate.
In the past three years, Oregon officials have blacklisted 31 employees for inappropriate relationships — friendships, romances and, in a few cases, forced sex — with inmates. More than half of the decertified officers in the past three years — 17 of 31 — were women. Although only one-fourth of the officers in the state prison system are women, about 92 percent of state prisoners are men. Ron Lawson of the Association of Oregon Correctional Employees said such behavior is aggressively reported and investigated today because it’s now a crime, not just a discipline problem.