Lags at “Britain’s cushiest jail”, where 18 female guards have been fired for having intimate relationships with prisoners, are being treated to phones and laptops to use in their “rooms”, as well as access to games rooms.
Data revealed in Freedom of Information requests filed by the MailOnline shows that 18 illicit relationships had been taking place at HMP Berwyn, one of the UK’s largest prisons, over the last six years.
The figures come after three female guards were jailed for having intimate relationships with prisoners at the the £250 million super prison, which houses Category C adult male offenders in Wrexham, Wales.
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Jennifer Gavan, 27, Ayshea Gunn, 27, and Emily Watson, 26, were all sent to prison over the last three years for having intimate relationships with inmates.
Gavan was jailed in December for eight months after she was caught smuggling a phone into the prison for Alex Coxon, an inmate with convictions involving drugs, robbery and attempted robbery.
Mark Fairhurst, chair of the Prison Officers' Association, previously blamed the intimate relationships at HMP Berwyn on the hiring of “the wrong kind of women”.
He told the Mirror: “Staff being recruited don't have face-to-face interviews… It's all done on Zoom.
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“A lot of people getting these jobs don't have enough life experience and are susceptible to conditioning from prisoners. Your figures just prove what we've been warning the employer about for years.”
The prison, which was opened in 2017 and has a capacity of more than 2,100, aims to take a “truly rehabilitative approach” to imprisonment, according to its first governor, Russell Trent.
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Prisoners live in “rooms”, not cells, and are given phones which they can use to make calls at any time to people named on their verified list of friends and family.
Everyone is also given a laptop which can be used to make applications, order food from the canteen and book visits.
Convicts can also access a hub that has educational materials and news.
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The prison has a full-sized sports hall, weights and fitness room and outdoor pitches on its grounds.
It is also running a fitness programme, which includes team sports and classes which can lead to accredited qualifications.
In 2019, it was reported that prisoners were to be even given their own keys to their cells as a reward for good behaviour.
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Governors would be allowed to let prisoners lock their own cells for more privacy under a new incentive scheme, the Ministry of Justice said at the time. But officers can override the 'privacy lock' whenever they need to, The Times reported.
A Prison Service spokesperson told MailOnline: “These keys can only be used to stop other prisoners getting into cells. They cannot be used to unlock cells when locked by staff and there is no requirement for staff to knock before entering.”
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