Hampshire & Isle of Wight

HMP Winchester worker who texted inmate sentenced

HMP Winchester Image copyright Chris Talbot
Image caption Sonya Nicole Knight admitted misconduct in a public office

A prison worker has admitted texting and calling an inmate via an illicit mobile phone.

Sonya Nicole Knight, 22, who worked in operational support at HMP Winchester, admitted engaging in an inappropriate relationship with the prisoner.

She was aware he had access to the phone, Southampton Crown Court heard.

Knight, who admitted misconduct in a public office, was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for eighteen months.

Knight was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £200 in costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

Her duties involved patrolling the grounds and checking in visitors.

Hampshire Constabulary said she engaged in a relationship with the prisoner between May and December 2015.

Det Sgt Gary Cable said: "Knight was subsequently arrested at her Southampton home and during her interview she gave a full admission that she had been speaking to the prisoner via mobile phone calls and messages.

"Knight was aware that the prisoner had access to a phone and this undermined the security and integrity of the prison. She was also texting the prisoner whilst she was on a training course based in HMP accommodation.

"Knight also admitted that there was only one instance of personal contact where the prisoner had kissed her hand through a cell hatch."

David Rogers, the governor of the prison, said: "A case such as this brings to light the wrongdoing or corruption of a small minority of prison staff and demonstrate that staff engaging in such activity will be uncovered and punished.

"A vast majority of prison staff do a fantastic job and have appropriate and professional contact with prisoners."

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