Corrections Officer Arrested for Alleged Sexual Relationship with Prisoner

Avril Richardson, 45, of Elizabeth had an ongoing romantic relationship with an inmate at the minimum security prison from 2016 until her arrest Thursday, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said.
Essex County

Avril Richardson has been charged with second-degree sexual assault for her sexual relationship with an inmate at Northern State Prison.

According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Richardson maintained a long-term sexual relationship with an inmate under her supervision from 2016 until her arrest on Thursday. Because New Jersey state law acknowledges the inappropriate power dynamic by  forbidding prisoners from giving consent, she is being charged with sexual assault.

Richardson worked as a corrections officer for 11 years before the Department of Corrections’ Special Investigations Division discovered the “relationship.” According to Assistant Prosecutor Jessica L. Apostolou. she was held overnight at the Essex County jail in Newark, and is scheduled to be set free on Friday.

She will have her day in court on January 11, 2019.

Sadly, this is far from isolated. The assault of prisoners by staff is a widespread problem, and frequently goes without prosecution. In 2012, a study found that roughly 4-10% of inmates are sexually assaulted during their sentence.

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