Eighteen guards at ‘Britain’s most comfortable prison’ have been fired for having illicit relationships with female inmates.
Figures uncovered in freedom of information requests found the relationships took place over the past six years at HMP Berwyn, Britain’s largest prison.
The information follows three of the women who ended up in court after illicit relationships at Wrexham jail in North Wales.
Mark Fairhurst, president of the Prison Officers Association, blamed the relationships on hiring “the wrong kind of women.”
told the Mirror: ‘The staff that are hired do not have face-to-face interviews… everything is done on Zoom.
Eighteen female guards at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, North Wales, a Category C prison, have been sacked for having illicit relations with female inmates.
Former corrections officer Jennifer Gavan, left, was jailed for eight months after smuggling a mobile phone into prison for her lover Alex Coxon, right. She sent intimate messages and photos to Coxon via Snapchat.
“A lot of people who get these jobs don’t have enough life experience and are susceptible to prisoner conditioning.
Their numbers demonstrate what we have been warning the employer for years.
Among the guards guilty of initiating relationships with inmates at the £250m super-prison that houses category C adult male offenders were Jennifer Gavan, 27, Ayshea Gunn, 27, and Emily Watson, 26.
Most recently, Gavan was jailed for eight months in December following her relationships with 25-year-old inmate Alex Coxon.
She had sent intimate photos of herself to inmate Coxon on Snapchat and kissed him during their relationship between April and July 2020.
He also smuggled a mobile phone behind bars for Coxon.
Gavan, of Llay, Wrexham, pleaded guilty to public misconduct at Mold Crown Court after accepting £150 to bring in the mobile phone.
The relationship came just a year after officer Ayshea Gunn, 27, had an affair with ‘dangerous’ inmate Khuram Razaq, 29.
Prisons officer Ayshea Gunn, left, was jailed for a year at Mold Crown Court in 2019 after having an affair with dangerous criminal Khuram Razaq, right, at HMP Berwyn in North Wales.
Emily Watson, left, was jailed for a year after performing a sexual act on inmate John McGee.
A search of Gunn’s room revealed snapshots of the couple kissing and embracing, also with cellphone photos taken in his cell. She was subsequently jailed for a year at Mold Crown Court in 2019.
Officer Emily Watson, 26, was jailed for one year in April 2019 in the same court for performing a sexual act on an inmate in her cell.
Since Watson spent so much time with John McGee in prison, the staff soon became suspicious and opened an investigation.
Mold Crown Court heard that they had been alone in his cell on three occasions when she performed a sexual act on him twice and had intercourse once.
Inmates at the 2,100-man prison also have outdoor courts they can use.
A cell at HMP Berwyn in a 2017 photo – all rooms have a phone for outgoing calls
Some 31 female officers in England and Wales have been fired for inappropriate relationships since 2019, according to Justice Ministry statistics.
Staff at the prison, which opened in 2017, have now had to undergo mandatory retraining in a bid to address such issues at the 2,100-capacity jail.
The prison, previously dubbed ‘the UK’s most comfortable jail’ by one MP, provides inmates with access to a wide range of education and training services, vocational qualifications, access to a full-size sports hall, weights room and fitness and outdoor courts, and various methods of being able to communicate with friends and family in the outside world.
A spokesman for the Justice Ministry’s Prison Service said: “The vast majority of Prison Service staff are hard-working and honest, but we are doing more than ever to catch the small number who break the rules.”
MailOnline has contacted the Prison Officers Association for comment.