Prison worker arrested for misconduct

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NATCHEZ — A prison worker is now on the other side of the bars after alleged inappropriate conduct with an inmate.

Ashley Nicole Matthews, 25, 101 Cottage Drive, is charged with having sexual conduct with an inmate, furnishing an electronic device to an inmate and introducing contraband into a prison facility while employed at the Adams County Correctional Center. Matthews has been arraigned and was released on a $20,000 bond.

Matthews’ arrest came as a result of a joint investigation between Corrections Corporation of America and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

Adams County Correctional Facility Warden Vance Laughlin said an internal investigation revealed Matthews’ inappropriate actions.

“Through our own investigation with our criminal investigation team on site and the assistance of her actual shift supervisor, she was caught red handed with contraband,” Laughlin said. “She was suspended and shortly after that she resigned.”

Further investigation of the case is being handled by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Laughlin said.

Laughlin said a federal Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 defines any sort of sexual conduct between a prison employee and a prisoner as rape.

“Just like a 14-year-old can’t consent to have sex with an adult, no sexual contact with an inmate can be defined as consensual because of his capacity and her position as a supervisor,” Laughlin said.

In a release from the Adams County Correctional Center, a Corrections Corporation of America facility, said the facility has a zero-tolerence policy in regards to activities of this nature.

“CCA will support full prosecution under the law for any offense committed,” the release said.