Prison Officer jailed for misconduct - Aylesbury

10/08/2017

A Prison Officer appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court today, Thursday, 10 August 2017, and was jailed for eight months after she had an inappropriate relationship with a serving prisoner at Aylesbury Young Offenders Institute.

Chelsea Blackwell, aged 27, formerly of Sheriff Close, Aylesbury, was sentenced today after pleading guilty on 20 July 2017, at the same court, to misconduct in a public office.

Louise Attrill, Senior Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved wilful misconduct by a serving prison officer who communicated inappropriately, via letters, phone calls and text messages, with a 21-year-old serving prisoner, at her place of work in Aylesbury last summer.

"Between 13 July 2016 and 5 August 2016, in excess of 850 text messages were sent between the pair, some of which were of a sexual nature. Over 115 calls were also made, some of which lasted more than two hours. Initial phone contact was between Chelsea Blackwell's main mobile phone and the prisoner's phone, but from 28 July 2016, she switched to using a 'dirty phone.' Blackwell made five calls to the prisoner's phone after it had been seized from his cell following a search, presumably oblivious of the search. Four letters were seized during the cell search and a couple from Blackwell's home address. A forensic handwriting report concluded that there was "very strong evidence" that Blackwell had written all of them.

"Blackwell initially denied any wrongdoing, but on 20 July 2017, at Aylesbury Crown Court, due to the strength of evidence against her, and recognising that justice had caught up with her, she pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office.

"Acts of this nature by prison officers are extremely rare, but the prosecuting authorities recognise them as an abuse of the public's trust and the potential for corruption and blackmail and, therefore, treat such cases with the utmost seriousness. This thorough investigation and robust prosecution with the use of mobile phone data, cell site analysis and handwriting analysis demonstrate that those who abuse their position as a public officer will be pursued, prosecuted and punished."

Following today's court appearance, Police Constable Nicola Ambrose from the Prison Investigation Team based at Aylesbury, said: "Blackwell completely abused her position as a prison officer, by choosing to communicate with a serving prisoner through letters, texts and calls knowing that he illegally had a mobile phone inside prison. Her actions were completely unacceptable and amounted to misconduct in a public office.

"I hope this sentencing shows that we will not tolerate any offences within our prisons, and will take swift action against those who undermine the good work of their colleagues and open themselves up to potential corruption."