A former prison officer has this afternoon been sentenced to two years and eight months behind bars for six counts of misconduct in a public office.
Julie Turton, aged 53, has previously admitted the offences which include three counts related to phone contact with inmates, one count to the delivery of a stereo into prison and one count related to a sexual relationship with an inmate. She also pleaded guilty to the supply of cannabis.
Another man, Arteef Hussain, aged 25 and from Stoke Heath Prison, was sentenced to one year for encouraging her to supply cannabis.
Police say the hefty sentence is the culmination of a six-month joint investigation between HMP Birmingham and the Serious and Organised Crime Unit at West Midlands Police.
The investigation started when both agencies shared their concerns regarding an organised crime group who had members serving time in prison. It soon became clear that there was someone working ‘on the inside’ who was helping to bring things in for prisoners and an extensive undercover and surveillance operation was put in place.
Martin Brennan is the DCI who led the investigation: “Police investigation doesn’t stop when someone goes to prison. We continue to keep a watchful eye on what’s happening and work really closely with the prison service.
“In this case, the prison too had concerns about Julie’s behaviour. Working together we were quickly able to establish exactly what she was up to and bring her before the courts."
The prison sacked Turton, of from Hembs Crescent, Hamstead, Great Barr, as soon as she was charged.
Pete Small, Director of HMP Birmingham, said the prison was committed to tackling this kind of criminality at the earliest opportunity:
“We are satisfied with today’s sentence, which properly reflects the reckless behaviour and severity of the crimes Julie Turton participated in. As an established prison officer with more than 20 years of experience, Julie Turton not only let herself down, but abused the trust of her colleagues and the prison service. The overwhelming majority of our staff act with integrity and professionalism to provide a safe environment for prisoners, staff and prison visitors. There is no place for misconduct or corruption at the prison and if we have any suspicions over any staff, we will always investigate and if necessary, work with the police to bring a prosecution as we did in this case.
“When a colleague brings the prison into disrepute like this it’s hugely demoralising for staff, however, we take heart that it was through our successful partnership with West Midlands Police, as well as our own intelligence and security measures, that we uncovered the wrong-doing, which ultimately resulted in the sentence decided today. This partnership has already resulted in the prosecution and imprisonment of a number of offenders who have been caught attempting to bring banned items into the prison. Anyone who may be tempted to act unlawfully like this should expect to be caught and firmly dealt with."