A PRISON officer who had a sexual relationship with a serving inmate has been sentenced.

Kate Southern, of Bishop Drive, Whiston pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday, June 24.

She was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years. She will have to complete 15 days of rehabilitation activity and 125 hours of unpaid work. 

Southern, 26, who worked at HMP Altcourse from December 2021 to January 2022, admitted that she was in a relationship with a serving prisoner and that they spoke via a prison phone by using a 'call divert number' and a 'fake name' to avoid detection.  

The court heard that she would bring food and drink into HMP Altcourse for the prisoner, accepting payment from him to buy herself flowers and a hotel stay. 

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Detective Chief Inspector Chris McClellan from the North-West Regional Organised Crime Unit’s Prison Anti-Corruption Unit, said: “There is an expectation from the public that prison staff be entrusted to safeguard the security, good order and discipline of those under their supervision. 

"Where an inappropriate relationship between staff and prisoners develop this greatly undermines that trust.”

“We want to reassure the honest, dedicated, and hardworking prison staff that we will continue to take action against people who choose to engage in corrupt activity.  We encourage anyone who has information about corruption in our prisons to report it.”