Did You Hear About The Latest Round Of Arrests At Angola?

No, not the inmates. The guards. They arrest the guards at Angola all the time for all kinds of illicit behavior, and this latest batch was nothing new.

Following investigations into misconduct at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, four officers were arrested and resigned, and two have been administratively sanctioned since Saturday, said Department of Corrections spokesman Ken Pastorick.

The four officers were arrested by the West Feliciana Sheriff’s Office following the DOC investigation into alleged sexual misconduct, inappropriate relationships and contraband transgressions, Pastorick said.

Kentricia Ware, 24, was arrested after admitting to having had sex with an inmate and accepting $400 from that offender, Pastorick said. Ware resigned amid the investigation and was booked into West Feliciana Parish jail on counts of malfeasance in office and sexual misconduct.

Ware, of 1746 Tenner Road, in Natchez, Mississippi, had been an employee at Angola since October.

Tyleyiah Wrights, 20, of Baton Rouge, was also arrested Saturday after she was found with more than 17 grams of synthetic marijuana and $1,000 in cash during a routine employee shakedown, Pastorick said.

Wrights, of 1570 79th Ave., Apt. 4, was booked on introduction of contraband. She also resigned from Angola after having worked there since November.

Fredricka Ross, 28, was arrested Monday after an investigation found she had accepted a cell phone from an inmate’s relative and used the phone to communicate with the inmate, Pastorick said. Detectives found out the inmate slapped Ross after becoming jealous. Ross did not report the incident or write up the offender.

Ross, of 4167 Highway 33 in Crosby, Mississippi, was booked on malfeasance in office. She resigned after having worked at Angola since August 2016.

TiChina Williams, 22, of Wilson, was arrested Monday after she admitted to investigators she kissed an inmate, received more than $4,000 from that inmate and smuggled drugs into the prison, Pastorick said. Williams allegedly has the inmate’s name tattooed on her arm, and her name is also on the inmate’s arm, Pastorick said.

Williams, of 9762 Highway 19, was booked on malfeasance in office. She resigned after seven months of employment at Angola.

Got all that? You have prison guards turning tricks with inmates in the prison, guards smuggling dope in for inmates and little love triangles emerging as though this was some sort of sleazeball reality TV show.

Welcome to modern corrections, Louisiana-style.

Oh, but there was more. Two other prison guards, 26-year-old Shaqueel Anderson, of Centreville, Mississippi and 21-year-old Kiaria Cruse, of McComb, Mississippi, were suspended as well. Anderson didn’t respond very well when investigators asked about an incident caught on video in which she let an inmate stick his nose between her breasts, and proceeded to make threats against them. That probably wasn’t smart for somebody less than two months on the job to do. As for Ware, she was called in and asked about the rather pervasive culture of impropriety at the prison and took to such questioning even more demonstratively – spewing forth vulgarities and invective and then punctuating her words by throwing chairs.

None of these people had been working at Angola very long. Ross, the one with the illicit cell phone and the jealous inmate boyfriend, was the most senior – she started working there in August.

You might have noticed all of these people were female. The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola’s prison guards are mostly female, in case you weren’t aware. And they get paid next to nothing in wages, which is why everybody there seems to be running some sort of illegal side action like drugs or prostitution to make extra cash. This isn’t even the first batch of arrests and disciplinary actions this year – in January there was this…

A 23-year-old employee was arrested Monday after investigators discovered she repeatedly had sex with an inmate, Pastorick said. Diamond Nicholson, who worked at the prison since Dec. 12, 2016, and an inmate both admitted to having sex multiple times.

Nicholson, of 3116 Oak Hill Drive, Natchez, Mississippi, was arrested on felony sexual malfeasance. The inmate was placed in administrative segregation on a disciplinary rule violation, Pastorick said. Nicholson resigned during the investigation.

On Friday, during a search of employees, called a shakedown, investigators found one ounce of synthetic marijuana, three cellphones and two chargers on 22-year-old Amber Sanders, who had worked at the prison since July 3, 2017, Pastorick said in a press release. Sanders, who resigned during the investigation, confessed to smuggling contraband, Pastorick said.

Sanders, of 1602 Stump Road, Gloster, Mississippi, was arrested by the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office on felony introduction of contraband.

During another shakedown on Sunday, investigators found 24-year-old Keyshawnna Rogers with 101 ecstasy pills, six grams of cocaine, 1.1 ounces of THC and a partially hand-rolled cigarette with synthetic THC, Pastorick said. Rogers, who worked at the prison since May 15, 2017, confessed to smuggling contraband and resigned, Pastorick said,

Rogers, of 6375 Kinnon Lane, Ethel, was arrested on felony introduction of contraband.

Like we said – this is what you get. Pathetic, isn’t it?

One would suggest that maybe the thing to do would be hire fewer prison guards at Angola, but screen a bit more carefully for ethics and intelligence and pay your hires accordingly, in hopes that the result would be people who aren’t utter trash. That was the gist of the House hearing earlier this week you might have heard about, in which Rep. Kenny Havard found a way to make himself look like a dope by disparaging female prison guards…

Havard was the legislator who had previously gotten himself in trouble for introducing a sarcastic amendment to the infamous, and ultimately unconstitutional, “stripper bill” two years ago purportedly imposing a maximum age and weight limit on strippers as an amendment to a bill requiring they be 21. His execution of the amendment as a means of exposing the bill as absurd went badly and he was set upon by a number of female legislators as a sexist for his trouble. So Havard, it would be fair to say, is probably the last legislator one would expect to articulate the practical difficulty of having pay for prison guards so low that uneducated females with such poor moral character as those caught in the last two rounds of arrests would make up so large a proportion of the prison system’s employees.

Nevertheless, while he might have made a mess of the argument and failed to state the whole case for it, Havard isn’t wrong. In testimony at the hearing in question Monday, Angola warden Darrell Vannoy gave out the numbers…

Vannoy has 598 female correction officers and 457 male correction officers, he told the committee. Even fewer men work at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel. There are 249 female correctional officers and 144 male correctional officers at that facility, according to its warden, Timothy Hooper. In the prison system overall, less than 35 percent of qualified applicants for prison guard positions are male.

That’s the problem – for the $11-12 an hour the Department of Corrections is paying for prison guards, it’s really hard to find men who are drug-free and without a criminal record. As we’re finding out, the women who meet those criteria don’t particularly set the world on fire for the underlying considerations behind them – they might not fail a drug test or carry a criminal record, but that doesn’t mean they won’t traffic drugs or break the law every day.

Maybe there is no amount of money the state can afford to pay that will solve the problem of trash guarding trash, and the state’s prisons becoming places where criminal behavior is maximized rather than punished. But it would seem they’re hiring too many corrections officers at too little a salary now and getting a lot more trouble than they’re worth.

That might well apply to Havard, too. But it doesn’t make him wrong in this case.

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