Five female corrections employees were caught, shamed, and forced out of a job for having sex with Montana inmate Michael Murphy, say documents obtained by the Associated Press after an open-records lawsuit. The women described Murphy as the aggressor, even as the predator. That makes no difference in either state or federal penitentiaries, where prison employees – male or female – are the violators if they have sex with inmates. A Justice Department study shows that cases like Murphy’s are common: Female staff are more often implicated than their male counterparts in prison sexual misconduct.
Murphy wrote that he had been sexually assaulted by some of the women. Prison officials would not allow him to talk to AP. Martin Horn, former New York City correction director now at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said female workers who have sex with inmates are often treated less harshly by officials than are male workers who do the same. “As long as we have a double standard we are going to see these kind of behaviors,” Horn said. “It is a very slippery slope we go down if we say we are not going to hold female officers to the same standard.” A 2007 U.S. Department of Justice study analyzing the prevalence of sexual assault in state and federal prisons found that 58 percent of staff perpetrators of sexual misconduct were female.