A prison officer struck up an “inappropriate relationship” with an inmate at a jail, a court has heard.
Gemma Brean, 35, was caught when a photograph was posted online showing her reclined on a sofa with her arms around prisoner Stuart Mark Davies.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Brean had been supervising Davies at Prescoed prison in Monmouthshire.
She received an eight-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, after admitting misconduct in public office.
The court was told Brean and Davies, a convicted drug dealer, were pictured together while the prisoner was on weekend home release.
The image was posted online by Davies’s mother in the knowledge it would be seen by his estranged wife.
Steven Donoghue, prosecuting, said the photograph showed Davies had “moved on” and had a new girlfriend.
The matter was reported to probation services, and Brean resigned from her post as a prison officer on 30 November, 2019.
She was arrested the following day, and admitted meeting up with Davies outside of prison.
She said the meeting was accidental and insisted she was not in a relationship with the prisoner, who was serving a five-year sentence.
Her mobile phone was seized, and showed she had been sharing messages with Davies using fake names.
‘No sexual evidence’
She had also told her daughter she had a new boyfriend, called Mark.
The prosecution said there was no evidence the relationship was sexual, or that Brean “did anything inappropriate with the prisoner whilst she was supervising him”.
Brean, of Cwm, Ebbw Vale, pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office.
Sentencing her, Judge Michael Fitton QC said prisoners would abuse the trust placed in them and “abuse the hand of friendship”.
“You’re the one paying the price but you are paying it for your lack of judgement,” he said.